The Fat Years [NOOK Book]

Overview

Banned in China, this controversial and politically charged novel tells the story of the search for an entire month erased from official Chinese history.
 
Beijing, sometime in the near future: a month has gone missing from official records. No one has any memory of it, and no one could care less—except for a small circle of friends, who will stop at nothing to get to the bottom of the sinister cheerfulness and amnesia that have possessed ...
See more details below
The Fat Years

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$11.99
BN.com price

Overview

Banned in China, this controversial and politically charged novel tells the story of the search for an entire month erased from official Chinese history.
 
Beijing, sometime in the near future: a month has gone missing from official records. No one has any memory of it, and no one could care less—except for a small circle of friends, who will stop at nothing to get to the bottom of the sinister cheerfulness and amnesia that have possessed the Chinese nation. When they kidnap a high-ranking official and force him to reveal all, what they learn—not only about their leaders, but also about their own people—stuns them to the core. It is a message that will astound the world.

A kind of Brave New World reflecting the China of our times, The Fat Years is a complex novel of ideas that reveals all too chillingly the machinations of the postmodern totalitarian state, and sets in sharp relief the importance of remembering the past to protect the future.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Alison McCulloch
With its offbeat puzzle and diverting characters…Chan's story is not only absorbing in its own right, it also shines reflected light on the foibles of the West.
—The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly
In the near future, China—the premier world superpower—has entered an unprecedented era of prosperity. Successful writer Lao Chen is one of the happy ones, until some old friends start to nag him with a troubling fact: an entire month is missing from history. Between the collapse of the Western financial system and the Chinese ascendance, a month was erased from official memory. With a ragtag band of friends, including the beguiling woman with whom he’s fallen in love, Lao Chen gropes toward the brutal truth underlying this government-imposed collective happiness. As Koonchung writes: “Between a good hell and a fake paradise—which one would you choose?” Part political thriller, part dystopian nightmare, the journey through 20th-century Chinese history bears misleading comparisons to Brave New World, since these characters are little more than mouthpieces for discussions about politics. As a result, this first English translation of Koonchung’s fiction, an underground sensation in China, feels flat, a quality exacerbated by the novel’s uneven pace and lengthy digressions into historical and political minutiae. However, Koonchung (founder of Hong Kong’s City Magazine) reveals the moral and political perils of contemporary Chinese life, and a better translation may allow this novel to flourish. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
“Smart, incendiary . . . Although The Fat Years clearly owes a debt to Brave New World, Chan's characters are infinitely more believable, and drawn with a real sense of sympathy and understanding — something Huxley's archetypes famously lacked. As for plausibility, The Fat Years is almost too believable . . . An urgent clarion call for people in every country to treasure their individuality.”
—NPR

"Chan has crafted a cunning caricature of modern China, with its friction between communism and consumerism, its desire to reframe the Revolution in terms of 'market share and the next big thing.' But he has also identified a deeper dislocation, one stretching from China to the world."
Los Angeles Times

"With its offbeat puzzle and diverting characters, The Fat Years is not only absorbing in its own right, it also shines reflected light on the foibles of the West."
The New York Times Book Review

"Inventive and highly topical."
The Wall Street Journal

 "A fascinating tale of China just over the horizon."
 —The New Yorker

"Part political thriller, part dystopian nightmare . . . Chan reveals the moral and political perils of contemporary Chinese life."
Publishers Weekly

"Eerily prescient. . . A gripping, if not terrifying, treatise on the rise of China, present and future."
Toronto Star

"Possibly the most audacious book to have been published by a Chinese author not living in exile since Lu Xun excoriated the atrophied Confucianism of the early 20th century. . . . This novel isn’t only essential reading, it is also urgent."
The Globe and Mail

"In conjuring China’s very near future, Chan Koonchung has given us a bracingly honest portrait of the present. He captures all the flamboyant paradoxes of daily life in China on the cusp of empire, but is also awake to its submerged anxieties. His writing is steeped in humor and fantasy, but his project could not be more serious: The struggle over the soul of a nation."
—Evan Osnos, Beijing correspondent, The New Yorker

"What happens when 1.3 billion Chinese are all very happy? The Fat Years is suspenseful, hilarious, intelligent, and dark — a powerful novel. Anyone interested in learning about the current state and future of China should read this novel."
—Shu-mei Shih, University of California, Los Angeles

"It's no wonder that the insecure Chinese authorities have banned this book in China itself.  It tells stunning truths that those authorities strive hard to keep under the rug, and it tells them with a literary flair worthy of Orwell.  Chan Koonchung's novel is deeply disturbing, biting, weirdly funny, and, above, all, piercingly honest."
—Richard Bernstein, author of The Coming Conflict with China

"A thought-provoking novel about China's tomorrow, that reveals the truth about China today."
—Xinran, author of The Good Women of China
 
"With echoes of Kafka, Lu Xun and Orwell, The Fat Years limns a New China that few have imagined: a booming, post-revolutionary land where historical and political amnesia are rewarded by the right to wealth and a seductive but amputated ‘good life.’ More unsettling, Chan's novel suggests that the ‘China's model’ of high-speed growth may mean that, far from heading towards greater openness and democracy as we have long imagined, history may actually be headed towards a new kind of Leninist consumerism."
—Orville Schell, Director of the Center on US-China Relations at the Asia Society
 
"Rarely does a novel tell the truth about a society in a way that has the power to shift our perceptions about that place in a fundamental way, but Chan Koonchung’s The Fat Years does exactly that. A dystopic political fantasy, it provides a frighteningly accurate portrayal of a rising world superpower where few things are as they seem, and where critics who persist in speaking truth to power are ‘harmonized’ in the name of social stability and maintenance of Communist Party control. If you read only one book about China this year, make it this one — it tells you more about China than any work of non-fiction."
—Didi Kirsten Tatlow, China Columnist, International Herald Tribune and New York Times

"This dystopia masterfully captures the dilemma today's Chinese face: embrace economic growth or fight for justice. Chan delves into Beijing’s conscience and does not like what he sees." 
—Isaac Stone Fish, Reporter, Newsweek/Daily Beast

"Chan’s compelling dystopian fantasy reveals the underbelly of today’s Rising China while holding up a challenging mirror to fellow Chinese and all thoughtful readers."
 —Timothy Cheek, University of British Columbia, author of Living with Reform: China Since 1989

"The Fat Years is the best and most accessible account of the multiple faces of China’s public intellectuals and the complicated world of popular authoritarianism in which they live.  A distinctive form of whimsical realism that makes for compelling reading."
 —Paul Evans, Director of the Institute of Asian Research, University of British Columbia 

"Bracing, smart and entertaining."
Independent
 
"Hardly a thriller in the conventional sense of the word but a lot more scary than most."
The Times

"The Fat Years presents a vivid, intelligent and disturbing picture of the world’s emerging super-power."
—The Spectator

Library Journal
In this thinly veiled Orwellian criticism, the entire country, save for a few who are determined to suss out the mystery, loses a month of memory and becomes mysteriously contented following a boost to the Chinese economy after a U.S. economic meltdown. (LJ 12/11)
Library Journal
Available to U.S. audiences for the first time, Chan's novel originally debuted in 2009 in his native Hong Kong as Shengshi: Zhongguo 2013 and was released in Great Britain in 2011 under its current title. This controversial sociopolitical work, currently banned in China, takes place in 2013. Protagonist Lao Chen, a Hong Kong-born writer with serious writer's block, lives in China during its Golden Age of Ascendancy, a period marked by economic boom and a time when citizens can happily flock to their local Starbucks for a Lychee Black Dragon Latte. As the novel unfolds, readers meet other characters, like Little Xi, a woman with whom Chen reunites after more than 20 years. As more characters are introduced, a mystery emerges—citizens are unable to recall anything about a 28-day period between the beginning of the world's economic crisis and the current "Golden Age." VERDICT Only seemingly innocuous, this work contains a surprising amount of realistic intrigue while packing a big political punch. Readers savvy about current events, particularly regarding China, will likely be drawn to it and may want to suggest it to their local book group for further discussion.—Shirley N. Quan, Orange Cty. P.L., Santa Ana, CA
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385534352
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/10/2012
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 418,709
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

CHAN KOONCHUNG is a novelist, journalist, and screenwriter. Born in Shanghai and raised and educated in Hong Kong, he studied at the University of Hong Kong and Boston University. He has published more than a dozen Chinese-language books and in 1976 founded the monthly magazine City in Hong Kong, of which he was the chief editor and then publisher for twenty-three years. He has been a producer on more than thirteen films. Chan Koonchung now lives in Beijing.
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

1.
Two Years from Now
 
 
Someone not seen in a long time

     “One whole month is missing. I mean one whole month of 2011 has disappeared, it’s gone, it can’t be found. Normally February follows January, March follows February, April follows March, and so on. But now after January it’s March, or after February it’s April . . . Do you understand what I’m saying—we’ve skipped a month!”
     “Fang Caodi, just forget it,” I said. “Don’t go looking for it. It’s not worth it. Life’s too short; just look after yourself.”
     No matter how clever I was, I could never change Fang Caodi. Then again, if you really wanted to search for a missing month, Fang Caodi would be the one to do it. In his life, he’d probably spent quite a few missing months just existing. He was always turning up unexpectedly in odd places like he had vanished for a million years and was being reborn just when you were least expecting him. Maybe someone like him really could accomplish such a politically unfashionable task as restoring a missing month.
     The thing is, at first I didn’t really notice that a whole month was missing. Even if other people told me about it, I wasn’t ready to believe them. Every day I read the papers and checked the Internet news sites; every night I watched CCTV and the Phoenix Channel, and I hung around with intelligent people. I didn’t think that any major event had escaped my notice. I believed in myself—my knowledge, my wisdom, and my independent judgment.
 
*          *          *
 
     On the afternoon of the eighth day of the first lunar month of this year, as I left my home in Happiness Village Number Two and set out on my usual walk to the Starbucks in the PCCW Tower Mall of Plenty, a jogger suddenly pulled up in front of me.
     “Master Chen! Master Chen!” the jogger gasped while trying to regain his breath. “A whole month is missing! It’s been missing for two years today.”
     The jogger was wearing a baseball cap, and I didn’t recognize him at first.
     “Fang Caodi, Fang Caodi . . .” he said as he took off his cap to reveal a bald head sporting a short ponytail held at the back with a rubber band.
     Suddenly, I knew who it was. “Fang Caodi. Why are you calling me master?”
     He ignored me. “A whole month is missing! Master Chen, what can we do about it, what can we do?” he repeated rather desperately.
     “It’s been more than a month since we last met, hasn’t it?” I said.
     “Longer than that. Master Chen, you know, a whole month has disappeared! It’s terrifying. What should we do about it?” Fang said.
     I tried to change the subject. “When did you get back to Beijing?”
     He didn’t answer and then suddenly he sneezed. I handed him my card. “Don’t catch cold. You shouldn’t be running around. We can meet later. My phone number and e-mail are on the card.”
     He put his cap back on and took my card. “We can look for it together,” he said.
     As I watched him jog off toward the Dongzhi Menwai Embassy Row area, I realized he wasn’t just out for a jog, he was on a mission.
 
 
Another person not seen in a long time
 
     A couple of days later, I found myself attending the Reading Journal New Year’s reception  on the second floor of the Sanlian Bookstore on Art Museum East Road. The reception was an annual affair. In the 1990s I used to drop in off and on, but since I moved to Beijing permanently in 2004, I’ve come up every other year to shoot the breeze a while with the older writers and editors, just to let the cultural world know that I’m still alive. I never bother with the younger ones—I don’t know them and they don’t seem to feel any need to know me.
     The atmosphere at the reception was somehow different from previous years; the guests seemed quite elated. For the past year, I’ve noticed that I, too, have often felt some sort of unaccountable cheerfulness, but the high spirits that day still took me aback. That day everybody was so euphoric it was as if they’d just knocked back a few shots of Jack Daniel’s.
     The venerable founder of Reading, Zhuang Zizhong, hadn’t made an appearance at a reception for a while, but  this time he turned up in his wheelchair. There was quite a crowd jostling around him, so I didn’t go over to say hello. Besides Old Zhuang, all the staff at the journal—those who were still alive, that is—had all showed up. That was no minor miracle. In all the years I’ve been associated with the Sanlian and its journal, Reading, I’ve never seen such a grand occasion. It left me pleasantly surprised. I’m quite cynical about human nature. I’ve never believed that the inner workings of any organization were completely harmonious, especially not any mainland-Chinese organization, and particularly not state-operated enterprises, including state-operated cultural units.
     That day all the writers and editors whom I knew greeted me with excessive enthusiasm; but when I started to strike up a proper conversation, their attention had already shifted and they hurried off to someone else. This sort of treatment is pretty common at receptions and cocktail parties, especially when you’re not a star. After being greeted and then snubbed two or three times, I readjusted my attitude and returned to my usual one—that of an observer. I have to admit I was pretty moved by what I saw: so many celebrated  and diverse members  of the  intellectual  elite gathered  together in one place looking genuinely happy, even euphoric . . . This really must be a true age of peace and prosperity, I thought to myself.
     I was feeling pretty good, but very quickly I got the feeling that it was time to leave. I walked out of the reception intending to browse around in the bookstore. I took a look at the art books on the second floor, and then glanced at the new bestsellers and the business and travel books on the first floor. The bookstore was teeming with browsers. So people are still reading books. Terrific! “The sweet smell of books in a literary society,” I thought. As I made my way downstairs toward the basement, students were crowding both sides of the stairs, sitting and reading, almost as though they didn’t want anyone else to go down there. Feeling cheerful, I picked my way down the stairs. The basement level is where  the Sanlian keeps its extensive collection of books on literature, history, philosophy, politics, and the humanities, and that’s why it’s my number-one destination every time I visit. I’ve always believed that the generous display of these humanities books is one of the things that make Beijing a city worth living in. A city that reads books on literature, history, philosophy, and politics is definitely a special place.
     The basement level was very quiet that day. No one was around, and strangely enough, when I got down there I didn’t really feel like browsing anymore. I just wanted to lay my hands on one particular book, but I couldn’t remember what it was. I walked into the room thinking that when I saw it I would know. As I walked past the philosophy section and moved on to the politics and history sections, I suddenly felt I couldn’t breathe. Was the basement air that bad?
     So I decided to make a quick exit. I was walking up the stairs trying not to bump into any of the youngsters, when suddenly somebody grabbed the cuff of my trousers. I looked down in surprise, and that person looked up at me. It was not one of the young people.
     “Lao Chen!” She seemed surprised to see me.
     “Little Xi” is all I said, but I was thinking, Little Xi, where have you been all these years?
     “I saw you go downstairs and I thought, that must be Lao Chen!” From the way she said it she seemed to imply that running into me was quite important.
     “Didn’t you go up to the reception?” I asked.
     “No . . . I didn’t know about it till I got here. Are you free now?” She leaned toward me conspiratorially.
     “Sure,” I said, “I’ll buy you a cup of coffee.”
     She paused a minute before she said, “Let’s just walk and talk.” Then she let go of my trouser leg.
     We started strolling toward the National Art Museum. I walked beside her, waiting for her to start a conversation, but she didn’t, so I asked her about her mother. “How’s Big Sister Song?”
     “She’s fine.”
     “She must be over eighty now?”
     “Yup.”
     “And how’s your son?”
     No answer.
     “How old is he?”
     “Over twenty.”
     “That old?”
     "Yup.”
     “Is he at university or working?”
     “He’s at university. Look,” she said, “can we change the subject?”
     I remembered how much she doted on her son and was startled at her reaction.  “Let’s go to the Prime Hotel and have a cup of coffee,” I offered.
     She didn’t want to, so we walked instead into the small park next to the National Art Museum.
     Little Xi stopped suddenly. “Lao Chen, have you noticed anything?” she said.
     I didn’t know how I should respond, but I knew I couldn’t say, “Noticed what?” She seemed to be testing me. If I gave her the wrong answer, it was unlikely she’d open up to me. As a writer, I like people to tell me their innermost thoughts. As a man, I wanted this woman to tell me her innermost thoughts.
     I paused, feeling a little awkward, and she asked, “Is it kind of hard for you to express your feelings?”
     I gave a small nod. I’ve often felt nothing at all when people have asked how I feel about a work of art or a piece of music. I hate this feeling of feeling nothing, but I’m pretty good at faking an acceptable response.
     “That’s great, I knew it,” she went on. “When I saw you going down the stairs, I thought to myself, Lao Chen will understand. Then I sat there waiting for you to come back up the stairs.”
     In Little Xi’s mind I’m probably a reasonable, mature, and fairly knowledgeable person.  
     At least, that’s what I’d like people to think.
     “Let’s sit down on this bench,” I suggested gently.
     It seemed to work, because after we sat down she relaxed, closed her eyes, sighed deeply, and said, “At last.”
Little Xi was definitely my type. After so many years, her looks and figure hadn’t changed much, but wrinkles had begun to appear on her face from neglect. She also looked pretty depressed.
     She kept her eyes closed, trying to regain her composure. I looked at her intently and I suddenly realized how much I still liked this woman. I like melancholy women.
     “I don’t have anyone to talk to. I feel like there  are fewer and fewer people like us . . . There are so few of us left that life hardly seems worth living anymore.”
     “Don’t be silly,” I said. “Everybody’s lonely, but no matter how lonely you are, life still goes on.”
     She ignored my banal response. “No one remembers, except me. No one talks about it, except me. Does that mean I’m completely mad? There’s no trace of it, no evidence, so nobody can be bothered.”
     I was enjoying the sound of her Beijing accent.
     She briefly opened her eyes before closing them again. “Well, how about it? We were such good friends. Why haven’t I seen you for so many years? What happened?”
     “I thought you’d gone abroad.”
     She shook her head. “No.”
     “Well, it’s good that you didn’t. Now everybody’s saying there’s no country in the world as good as China.”
     She opened her eyes once more and gave me a look. I didn’t really understand what she was getting at, so I didn’t react. She broke into a smile and said, “It’s unbelievable that you can still make jokes.”
     I hadn’t been joking, but I immediately went along with her and smiled, too.
     “You sound just like my son,” she added.
     “Your son? You seem not to want to talk about him. What’s up between the two of you?”
     “He’s doing really well,” she said in an ironic tone. “He’s studying law at Peking University and he’s joined the Communist Party.”
     “That’s good,” I said vaguely. “It will be useful when he tries to find a job.”
     “He wants to go into the Chinese Communist Party Central Propaganda Department!”
     At first I thought I hadn’t heard her clearly.
     “The Central Propaganda Department?” I ventured.
     Little Xi nodded. “He says it’s his life’s ambition. He’s got big ideas! If you ever meet him, you’ll know what I mean.”
     I was enjoying a feeling of happiness sitting there next to Little Xi. It was such a beautiful spring afternoon; the sun was so bright and warm that many elderly couples were strolling around the park. There were also a few smokers . . . smokers? Two of them were standing close by chain-smoking. I like to read detective stories and I’ve even written a few myself, and so this situation left plenty of room for the imagination. It could have been a surveillance scene, but as I was nothing more than a self-indulgent writer of very ordinary bestsellers, why would anyone want to spy on me? Wherever there are people in China there are smokers.   
     I listened as Little Xi continued to pour her heart out to me. “Am I causing trouble, making a fuss? I know it’s none of my business, but I can’t act just like nothing’s happened. How can things change just like that? I don’t get it and I can’t stand it.”
     I was still wondering what had made her so upset. Her son, or the after-effects of her own nightmarish experiences?
     “One day in a small restaurant in Lanqiying,” she said, looking directly at me, “I went on a blind date with one of you Taiwanese men—he was a businessman. He was a terrific talker, there was nothing he didn’t know: astronomy, geography, medicine, divination and horoscopes, finance, investments, and world politics, you name it, he just wouldn’t stop and I was bored to death. When I managed to get a word in edgeways about our government’s failings, he called me ungrateful and said I didn’t know just how good I had it. He made me furious. I really felt like giving him a good slap.”
     “Taiwanese men are not necessarily all like him,” I said. I felt I had to stick up for us Taiwanese men. But I was also curious. “So what happened?”
     She smiled broadly. “He was so busy leaning over to tell me off that his butt was barely on the edge of his chair. When a tall, muscular young guy from the table next to us walked by, he deliberately bumped into his chair and knocked him off onto the floor.”
     “What about this young guy?” I asked, still curious.
     “He was just a strong young man.”
     “But did he say anything?”
     “He just walked out. And I felt delighted.”
     “Did you know him?”
     “No, but I’d like to.”
     I felt a twinge of jealousy. “You can’t go around being violent like that.”
     “Well, I thought it was great. I seem to feel like slapping people in the face all the time these days.”
     Little Xi had seen a great deal of violence in her life, and some of it must have rubbed off on her. I remembered then why I hadn’t dared get too close to her. “What did that Taiwanese guy do after that?”
     “He got up, absolutely livid, and looked around for someone to swear at, but he couldn’t see anyone, so he just muttered ‘philistine’ under his breath. You see, you Taiwanese still look down on us.”
     “Not anymore, we don’t.” I know there used to be a certain amount of mutual contempt between people from the mainland, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, but I think all that has changed now.
      I said, “So how are things for you now, Xi?”
      She knit her brows and pursed her lips. “Things are okay, but the people around me have changed and I feel pretty low. I feel a lot better now talking with you. I haven’t had anyone to talk to for a long time . . .”
     She suddenly turned her gaze into the distance, her expression quite blank. Her behavior puzzled me. What on earth was she looking at? The scattered shadows of the leaves on the ground as the slanting sun filtered through the branches? Or had she suddenly thought of something that threw her into a daydream? After a minute or so she abruptly said, “Oh, I’ve got to go, the rush-hour buses will be packed.”
     I quickly got to my feet and gave her my card. “Let’s have dinner sometime, with your mother and your son.”
     “We’ll see,” she said rather noncommittally. Then, “I’m off,” and away she went.
     Little Xi still walked quite fast. I took a good look at her from behind—she could definitely turn heads. Her figure and swinging stride were still youthful. Xi left by the south side of the park while I happily ambled along toward the east-side exit. I suddenly remembered those two smokers, and looking back, I saw that they were already at the south-side exit. Little Xi turned right toward the National Art Museum and walked out of my line of sight. The two smokers waited a couple of seconds and then followed her in the direction of the museum.
 
 
 

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2013

    The most important novel written on china in the last 5 years

    Mixing dysptopian allegory with rich insight into the human condition and lietrary flair, this novel transcends the boundaries of china and finds its stipulations and ideas extremely relevant and pertinent for the future of people, nations, governments, and the world during the 21st century. Think of a mix between brave new world and 1984, but abandoning the "the boot to the face" problems of 1984, and adding the technologies such as the internet, movies, and television that was missing from huxley's brave new world because he wrote it before their advent. It postulstes the unwritten agreement between corrupt governments and its constituents: stay out of political agitation and refrain from criticizing the shortcomings, contradictions and unfulfilled promises of those in power and we'll make you rich and materially prosperous. But the question is at what cost? And sadly most people are willing to pay that cost to enjoy the "good life." The question posed again and again in the novel is: would you rather live in a good hell or a fake paradise? And sadly the conclusion most people in the world today come to is that they would rather live in a fake paradise. This book is a must read for anyone seeking to understand modern china, or even seeking to understand why the world seems so terribly messed up these days. This book will stay with you and change the way you see the world. Some people in China have even gone as far as to say they now think in terms of two kinds of people: people who have read this book and people that haven't. If that isn't a testament of the power of the ideas and impact of its postulations, then I don't know what is. It is destined to take its rightful place beside such dystopian literary classics as Fareinheit 451, 1984, and Brave New World, and rightly so. It may even become more important and relevant as time goes on, especially once China surpasses the United States as the premier economic power in the next 15-20 years, if not sooner. You absolutely need to read this book. It changed the way I see and look at the world, and only really special books like this have that capability.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2012

    Been more than a month and still haven't received the book

    Paid $13 to have this one book delivered to us in New Zealand and we still haven't received it. Contacted Barnes & Noble and they told us to wait another two weeks! We get packages from the US all the time, why can't Barnes & Noble get this right?

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)