Serve the People!: A Novel

Serve the People!: A Novel

Language: English

Pages: 217

ISBN: 0802170447

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Set in 1967, at the peak of the Mao cult, Serve the People! is a beautifully told, wickedly daring story about the forbidden love affair between Liu Lian, the young, pretty wife of a powerful Division Commander in Communist China, and her household’s lowly servant, Wu Dawang. When Liu Lian establishes a rule for her orderly that he is to attend to her needs whenever the household’s wooden Serve the People! sign is removed from its usual place, the orderly vows to obey. What follows is a remarkable love story and a profound and deliciously comic satire on Mao’s famous slogan and the political and sexual taboos of his regime. As life is breathed into the illicit sexual affair, Yan Lianke brilliantly captures how the Model Soldier Wu Dawang becomes an eager collaborator with the restless and demanding Liu Lian, their actions inspired by primitive passions that they are only just discovering. Originally banned in China, and the first work from Yan Lianke to be translated into English, Serve the People! brings us the debut of one of the most important authors writing from inside China today.

La petite communiste qui ne souriait jamais

Complications: Communism and the Dilemmas of Democracy (Columbia Studies in Political Thought / Political History)















military thinking especiallywas the Political Instructor's particular talent. As his superior held forth unstoppably, Wu Dawang began to feel a furious hatred for Liu Lian. Several times he came close to revealing her degenerate, capitalist attempts at seduction, but each time the words sprang to his lips he swallowed them back down, for reasons that were unclear to him. Wu Dawang's discretion, his willingness to accept humiliation in order to protect a woman's reputation, was of course very much

of this delectable feast. Once he had stepped back from temptation, some sense of regret was almost inevitable. So far, he had paid for it in the currency of almost a whole night's sleep. After hours of restless reflection, lying still fully clothed in bed, he concluded that resistance would be useless and, most likely, counterproductive. To contemporary eyes, life back then must seem lacking in emotional depth. More often than not, however, psychological complexity exists only in novels, as

the yard, or pick something up from the floor. 'Xiao Wu,' she said, tucking the diminutive xfan in front of his surname in a casual, blandly affectionate kind of way, 'whenever this sign's not in its usual place, it means I need you upstairs for something.' Her communication concluded, she knocked the wooden sign meaningfully against the table -a cool, darkly enigmatic sound, like that of jade on agate. Then, just as she did after every meal, she glided sedately up the stairs. He stood

scattered to the winds. The secret sank without trace, like a piece of gold thrown into the sea. Wu DAWANG ENTERED MIDDLE AGE. While the details of his life over the previous decade and a half -how exactly he, his wife and son had enjoyed their heavenly urban existence -would have eluded a casual observer, the physical toll the years had taken was readily apparent in the resigned creases of his expression, in the coarsening of his complexion. A closer look might have caught, in addition to

hailstones, dousing his raging fires with freezing meltwater. The Commander's wife, he reminded himself, was perfectly entitled to wear whatever she wanted-whatever it happened to reveal in her own marital bedroom. (Barely a month after their wedding, he recalled, his own wife had taken to strolling around their bedroom naked from the waist up, without a trace of self-consciousness.) Women always remained guilelessly pure of heart in the presence of men, he reflected; it was men with their

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