From Mi Jian, the highly acclaimed Chinese dissident, comes a satirical novel about the absurdities of life in a post-Tiananmen China.
Two men meet for dinner each week. Over the course of one of these drunken evenings, the writer recounts the stories he would write, had he the courage: a young man buys an old kiln and opens a private crematorium, delighting in his ability to harass the corpses of police officers and Party secretaries, while swooning to banned Western music; a heartbroken actress performs a public suicide by stepping into the jaws of a wild tiger, watched nonchalantly by her ex-lover. Extraordinary characters inspire him, their lives pulled and pummeled by fate and politics, as if they are balls of dough in the hands of an all-powerful noodle maker.
Ma Jian’s satirical masterpiece allows us a humorous, yet profound, glimpse of those struggling to survive under a system that dictates their every move.