Friday, August 22, 2008

Beijing Fiction

In anticipation of the Olympic Games, the Guardian's book blog showcased top 10 books on Beijing. The books were chosen by Catherine Sampson, a crime novelist who has lived in Beijing for 15 years. Now that the games are almost over, we can all admit that we have been dazzled, impressed, and blown away by the city’s presentation. The books listed below are the seven titles from the list that the Library owns. The book summaries reveal once again how writers can show their country's contradictions.

Beijing Coma by Ma Jian
At once a powerful allegory of a rising China, racked by contradictions, and a seminal examination of the Tiananmen Square protests, Beijing Coma is Ma Jian’s masterpiece.

Please Don't Call Me Human by Wang Shuo
Author imagines an Olympics where nations compete not on the basis of athletic prowess, but on their citizens' capacity for humiliation--and China is determined to win at any cost.

A Thousand Years of Good Prayers by Yiyun Li
Ten breathtaking stories set in China and among Chinese Americans in the United States explore the ravages of the Cultural Revolution.

The Crazed by Ha Jin
Powerful novel is at once an unblinking look into the bell jar of communist Chinese society and a portrait of the eternal compromises and deceptions of the human state.

The Last Empress by Anchee Min
Story of Empress Orchid's dramatic transition from a strong-willed, instinctive young woman to a wise and politically savvy leader who ruled China for more than four decades.

Serve the People by Yan Lianke
Set in 1967, at the peak of the Mao cult, Serve the People! is a beautifully told, wickedly daring story about the forbidden love affair between Liu Lian, the young, pretty wife of a powerful Division Commander in Communist China, and her household’s lowly servant, Wu Dawang.

I Love Dollars by Zhu Wen
An immediate sensation upon publication in China, I Love Dollars is a hilarious send-up of China’s love affair with capitalism by one of its most gifted new writers.

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