Tag Archives: China

The Dark Road

A dark and saddening novel on the social consequences of China’s population planning policies and human migration.

“When she met him at seventeen, she believed marriage was for ever, that the government protects and cares for the people, and that husbands protect and care for their wives. But as soon as she got married, these naive beliefs were shattered. She discovered that women don’t own their bodies: their wombs and genitals are battle zones over which their husband and the state fight for control – territories their husbands invade for sexual gratification and to produce male heirs, and which the state probes, monitors, guards and scrapes so as to assert its power and spread fear.”

The Garlic Ballads

I first heard of Mo Yan last year, when he won the Nobel Prize in Literature 2012. During an excursion to the bookstore, his name caught my eye, and I bought the book.

The year is 1987, China is still recovering from the Cultural Revolution, and people are struggling to make meaning of their lives. What happens when a fixed economy fails. When promises to the people are broken. What happens when people decide they have nothing left to lose. When they decide that they are worth more as lifeless bodies.

All in all, a heart-wrenching, gory, and eye-opening portrayal of China in the 1980s.

Definitely worthy of the Nobel Prize in literature.