Serve the People!

ISBN-10: 0802170447
ISBN-13: 9780802170446
Edition: 2007
List price: $14.00 Buy it from $3.00
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Description: When it was written in 2005, Yan Lianke's Serve the People! was deemed unpublishable by China's state-run publishing houses. Despite the ban, Serve the People! found an underground audience via excerpts and in chat rooms on the Internet, where  More...

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Book details

List price: $14.00
Copyright year: 2007
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Incorporated
Publication date: 2/18/2008
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 240
Size: 5.75" wide x 8.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.594
Language: English

When it was written in 2005, Yan Lianke's Serve the People! was deemed unpublishable by China's state-run publishing houses. Despite the ban, Serve the People! found an underground audience via excerpts and in chat rooms on the Internet, where commentators praised its subversive critique of the hypocrisy and madness of the Cultural Revolution. 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. Left to idle at home while her husband furthers the revolution, Liu Lian establishes a rule for her orderly: that whenever the household's wooden Serve the People! sign is removed from its usual place on the dinner table and placed elsewhere, Wu Dawang is to stop what he is doing and attend to her needs upstairs. The orderly, an exemplary soldier, vows to obey. As life is breathed into the illicit sexual affair, Yan Lianke brilliantly captures how the Model Soldier Wu Dawang becomes an eager collaborator with the restless and demanding Liu Lian, their actions inspired by primitive passions that they are only just discovering. The two-month sexual affair culminates in three days of ravenous lovemaking, the peak of which is an evening in which the lovers compete to see who can prove themselves the most counterrevolutionary by destroying the compound's most sacred Communist icons. Lianke tramples on the sacrosanct taboos of the army, the revolution, sexuality, and political etiquette in this funny, subversive critique of official corruption, the hypocrisy of leadership, and theinsanity of the Cultural Revolution. His first work to be translated into English, Serve the People! brings us the debut of one of the most important authors writing from inside China today.

Zhu Wen became a full-time writer in 1994 after working for five years in a thermal power plant. His work has been published in mainland China's most prestigious literary magazines, and he has produced several poetry and short story collections and one novel. He has also directed four films, including Seafood, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2001 Venice Film Festival, and South of the Clouds, which won the NETPAC Prize at the 2004 Berlin Festival. He lives in Beijing.Julia Lovell is a translator and critic of modern Chinese literature and a research fellow at Queens' College, Cambridge.

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