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Library JournalThis new translation of Lao She's masterpiece of social commentary is a somber tale. Farm boy Xiangzi moves to the big city and works three long years to scrape together money to buy his own rickshaw, but soldiers commandeer his rickshaw for the army. Xiangzi saves up again, but his earnings are stolen when his employer's house is raided for political reasons. He is tricked into marrying the daughter of a rickshaw renter, and she bleeds him dry with her profligate spending. When his wife dies delivering a stillborn child, the burial fees set him back again. Soon, to make ends meet, he must abandon his new love in order to get back on his feet. He finally locates a steady rickshaw gig and returns for her, only to find unbearable tragedy. Beaten, Xiangzi begins to fade away, losing his health, livelihood, and drive to excel. The reader feels tremendous sympathy for Xiangzi, even as the book comes to its inevitable conclusion. Verdict This is an impressive novel of an individual struggling against and defeated by a corrupt society. Recommended for readers who enjoy modern tragedies such as Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres.—Amy Ford, St. Mary's Cty. Lib., Lexington Park, MD
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