In the peaceable, river-side village of Milltown, Secretary Ku has fallen into disgrace. It has been officially proven that he is not the son of a revolutionary martyr, but the issue of a river pirate and a prostitute. Mocked by his neighbors, Ku leaves the shore for a new life among the boat people. Refusing to renounce his high status, he--along with his teenage son--keeps his distance from the gossipy lowlifes who surround him. Then one day a feral girl, Huixian, arrives looking for her mother, and the boat people, and especially Ku's son, take her to their hearts. But Huixian sows conflict wherever she goes, and soon the boy is in the grip of an obsession.
Raw, emotional, and unerringly funny, the Man Asian Prize-winning novel from China's bestselling literary author is a story of a people caught in the stranglehold not only of their own desires and needs, but also of a Party that sees everything and forgives nothing.Atmospheric and compelling, this latest novel from Chinese bestselling author Su Tong tells of a former playboy with a young son who is banished to live on a river barge after being reported to the authortites by his wife for salacious behaviour. In the haunting silence of the river he becomes so ashamed of his earlier bad boy lifestyle that he castrates himself and jumps into the river. When a young orphan girl comes to live with them on the barge, she becomes the object of a dangerous obsession.Set amidst the fear and and close surveillance of the Cultural Revolution, this dark and disturbing novel plays unscrupulously with our emotions.
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October 26, 2011
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