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Beijing Coma / Ma Jian ; translated fro the Chinese by Flora Drew
Bib ID 4388976
Format BookBook
Ma, Jian, 1953-
Description London : Chatto & Windus, 2008 
586 p. ; 24 cm. 
ISBN 9780701178079

"Beijing Coma takes the life (and near-death) of one young student to create a novel of China's recent, painful past and uneasy future." "May 1989. Tens of thousands of students are camped out in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. What started as a united protest at the slow pace of political reform has begun to lose direction; people from all over China are joining the demonstration and the students at its heart are confused by the influence they suddenly wield. One of them, Dai Wei, argues with his friends about everything from democracy to the distribution of food to protestors, little knowing that, on 4 June, a soldier will shoot a bullet into his head, sending him into a deep coma." "Dai Wei lies immobile in his mother's Beijing flat; his body has become his prison, but his memories offer a means of escape. We watch him fall in love, drop out of school, arrive at university - and become increasingly politicised. From his coma, Dai Wei can't see or move, but he can hear what's happening in the world beyond: his mother's struggle to keep him alive; the government's attempt to suppress all memory of the Tiananmen Square Massacre; his friends' involvement in China's frenetic capitalism. As the minute-by-minute chronicling of the lead-up to his shooting becomes ever more intense, the reader is caught up in a gripping emotional journey where the boundaries between life and death are increasingly blurred." "History, memory, freedom. Beijing Coma explores the fundamental building blocks of society - the basic rights without which human beings cannot survive. At the same time, it is about the small things: the beauty of a tree, the taste of a dumpling, the scent of a woman. Ma Jian's characters haunt the reader long after the novel's final page, as he defiantly asserts the value of each and every life, whilst describing in crystalline detail a moment in history when individuals became numbers. If speaking the painful truth is the highest form of love, then this book is a love song to a country that seems so often bent on crushing its citizens' right to feel."--BOOK JACKET.


Translated from the Chinese.

Subjects Medical students -- China -- Political activity -- Fiction.  |  Coma -- Patients -- China -- Fiction.  |  Social change -- China -- Fiction.  |  China -- History -- Tiananmen Square Incident, 1989 -- Fiction.  |  China -- Social conditions -- 1976-2000 -- Fiction.
Other authors/contributors Drew, Flora


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