Vintage £8.99 (666pp) (free p&p) from the Independent Bookshop: 0870 079 8897
Beijing Coma, By Ma Jian
Friday 22 May 2009
This fearless epic of history and memory establishes the exiled Ma Jian as the Solzhenitsyn of China's forgetful drive towards world-domination.
Above all, this is the definitive Tiananmen Square novel. Ma not only delivers a dramatic, blow-by-blow narrative of the student protest movement in Beijing and its bloody suppression. He exposes the still-raw wounds from Mao's Cultural Revolution that lay behind the 1989 revolt.
Then, via the device of a comatose survivor stranded in a changing land, we see the city and country flee its hidden trauma into a long aftermath of wealth-creating mania.
Yet, as the Olympics nears and the family flat where he guards this past falls to the bulldozers, this orgy of consumption begins to fray into renewed dissent.
For all its documentary value, this true landmark work – in Flora Drew's engrossing translation – always grips and moves as fiction on a human scale.
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Reyhaneh Jabbari: Iran due to execute woman for murder of her alleged attempted rapist
- 2 Expert urges cat lovers to own just one animal each
- 3 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 4 The Simpsons death: Creator Al Jean would 'kill himself' before character like Homer or Lisa
- 5 British man raped while urinating in bushes at Oktoberfest beer festival in Germany
The Simpsons death: Creator Al Jean would 'kill himself' before character like Homer or Lisa
Cilla, episode 3, ITV - review: Ed Stoppard steals the limelight as Beatles manager Brian Epstein
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon 2: The Green Legend will be Netflix's first original movie
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'
The Jungle Book: A tale as old as time
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
'Women, walk wherever you want' posters taken down in Stamford Hill following 'unacceptable' signs separating men and women
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
- < Previous
- Next >