Book - 2009
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Young Love Liu, who wonders about life outside of the conformist region of Xinjiang during the Cultural Revolution, is inspired by a teacher to learn English but finds his survival threatened by the atmosphere of suspicion and repression that marks his home.
Publisher: New York : Viking, 2009
ISBN: 9780670020591
Branch Call Number: Fiction Wang
Characteristics: 313 p. ; 22 cm
Additional Contributors: Pan, Jane Weizhen
Merz, Martin
Alternative Title: Ying ge li shi


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Nov 21, 2011

Interesting novel/memoir of a Uighur boy growing up in Western China during the Cultural Revolution. The political pressure to conform is intense, and affects everyone in his village: parents, neighbors, teachers, other students. Repeatedly disappointed by his social-climbing architect parents, the boy attaches himself to his English teacher, a cosmopolitan young man from Shanghai whose greatest possession is a coveted English dictionary.

Interesting book, and a huge seller in China, even though (or maybe because) it discusses events during the Cultural Revolution. The characters are all clearly drawn, but the plot, such as it is, wanders around to the point where one wonders where this will all end. Told from the perspective of the boy in his older years, it doesn't really have much appeal for teen readers, but would make a great book group title.


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