Among the shelves of books that have been published on Beijing’s 1989 Tiananmen Square incident—in Chinese and English, inside and outside China—Mao’s Kisses: A Novel of June 4, 1989 is the first novel.
Mao’s Kisses is told from the point of view of Ge, the personal notetaker of China’s paramount leader at the time, Deng Xiaoping, as well as his main bridge partner. It tracks the events in April and May that led first to the declaration of martial law to quell the turmoil, then to the fatal decision to order the People’s Liberation Army to use their Type 68 assault rifles loaded with hollow point bullets against its own students and citizens demonstrating for political reform, and finally to send its Type 59 MBT tanks into Tiananmen (Gate of Heavenly Peace) Square on Sunday, June 4.
Staying astonishingly close to historical accuracy, Ge’s narrative chronicles the competing ideologies, betrayals, incompetence and flip-flops among and between the inchoate students and senior Party comrades in another muddled episode of China’s history.
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About the Author
Since 1963, he has taught and directed programs and departments at several American universities, including Roger Williams, University of Colorado and Washington State, and has been appointed writer-in-residence at Knox College, Washington State and Mercy Corps.
He taught American literature in Beijing in its political spring of 1989, and has returned to it almost every year since, lecturing at Peking, Tsinghua, Beijing Foreign Studies, Beijing Forestry, Beiihang, Fudan, Jilin and Hong Kong Baptist Universities.
He has received a Rockefeller Bellagio residency, three National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, a Fulbright Scholar appointment, a Lingnan Professorship, Knox College Distinguished Alumni Award, and the American Book Award for his short fiction collection, Lipstick and Other Stories.