The Second Lu Xun

Ma Daode – a fictional character in Ma Jian’s novel China Dream was the director of a China Dream project aimed at implanting a chip in the brains of Chinese people to control their thoughts. But as he indulged in the sensual pleasures at the Cultural Revolution Nightclub where the hostesses were numbered and dressed as Red Guards (unappealing until they were undressed), memories of the atrocities he committed during the Cultural Revolution came back to haunt him.


Like many young Red Guards, he drove his own parents to their deaths. The novel shuttles repeatedly between present-day China and China during the Cultural Revolution. He desperately sought the recipe for 孟婆汤 to help him erase the past and bury his conscience. But the magical soup only works for dead people ready to cross 奈何桥 on the path to rebirth.

A brilliant Orwellian piece of work. Ma Jian is China’s second Lu Xun!