China Dream by Ma Jian
We all have regrets, it’s hard to move on in life unless you make piece with them. You can’t just pretend they didn’t happen, but usually we learn from the mistakes in our past. What happens when a whole nation is made to forget though? What happens when a nation doesn’t learn from their past mistakes? China is a nation built on forgetting the past and this novel explores this dichotomy of this forced ‘forgetting’ in China.
Being a Chinese official is a tough life between juggling the mistresses, hiding bribes, attending dinners, lieing and you still even have to do the job you were appointed to do. This story is about one official who keeps having flashbacks to the Culture Revolution as he sees parallels of the past in the present. He wishes he could just forget, but things aren’t that easy. Can he carry on with suppressing the evil for the past, or will it tear him apart?
This booked reminded me of another ludicrous look at the insane world of Chinese politics, Party Members by Arthur Meursault.
If you want a non-fiction read about how one of the most pivotal moment’s in China’s recent history has been buried, then read The People’s Republic of Amnesia: Tiananmen Revisited by Louisa Lim.
P.S. don’t you love the cover art? It was made by another Chinese dissident, Ai Wei Wei.
Book #50 in my My 2019 Reading Challenge