The much-anticipated first novel from the prize-winning Chinese writer, acclaimed in the Guardian by Michel Faber as having 'the talent, the vision and the respect for life's insoluble mysteries to be a truly fine writer.' In the provincial town of Muddy Waters in China, a young woman named Gu Shan is sentenced to death for her loss of faith in ...Read MoreThe much-anticipated first novel from the prize-winning Chinese writer, acclaimed in the Guardian by Michel Faber as having 'the talent, the vision and the respect for life's insoluble mysteries to be a truly fine writer.' In the provincial town of Muddy Waters in China, a young woman named Gu Shan is sentenced to death for her loss of faith in Communism. She is twenty-eight years old and has already spent ten years in prison. The citizens stage a protest after her death and, over the following six weeks, the town goes through uncertainty, hope, and fear until eventually the rebellion is brutally suppressed. Sumei, a mother of a young child, is sentenced to death as an anti-Communist activist. They are all taken on a painful journey; from one young woman's death to another. We follow the pain of Gu Shan's parents, the hope and fear of the leaders of the protest and their families. Even those who seem unconnected to the tragedy -- an eleven-year-old boy seeking fame and glory, a nineteen-year-old village idiot in love with a young and deformed girl, and old couple making a living by scavenging the town's garbage cans -- are caught up in remorseless turn of events.Yiyun Li's novel is based on the true story which took place in China in 1979.Read Less
Publishers Weekly, 2008-10-20 Li's magnificent and jaw-droppingly grim novel centers on the 1979 execution of a Chinese counterrevolutionary in the provincial town of Muddy River and spirals outward into a scathing indictment of Communist China. Former Red Guard leader Shan Gu is scheduled to be executed after a denunciation ceremony presided over by Kai, the city's radio announcer. At the ceremony, Shan doesn't speak (her vocal chords have been severed), and before she's shot, her kidneys are extracted--by Kai's favor-currying husband--for transplant to a high regional official. After Shan's execution, Kwen, a local sadist, and Bashi, a 19-year-old with pedophile leanings, bury Shan, but not before further mutilating the body. While Shan's parents are bereft, others celebrate, including the family of 12-year-old Nini, born deformed after militant Shan kicked Nini's mother in her pregnant belly. Nini dreams of falling in love and--in the novel's intricate overlapping of fates--hooks up with Bashi, providing the one relatively positive moment in this panorama of cruelty and betrayal. Li records these events dispassionately and with such a magisterial sense of direction that the reader can't help being drawn into the novel, like a sleeper trapped in an anxiety dream. (Feb.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Copyright in bibliographic data and cover images is held by Nielsen Book Services Limited, Baker & Taylor, Inc., or by their respective licensors, or by the publishers, or by their respective licensors. For personal use only. All rights reserved. All rights in images of books or other publications are reserved by the original copyright holders.