Tuesday, November 8, 2022

The bridegroom - Ha Jin

This is a collection of short stories. I’ve always liked the genre and I’ve read quite a few such books in the past, mostly American but also European and Asian - Korean and Japanese to be precise. This is the first time that I read short stories written by a Chinese author (who writes in English though).
The stories are all based in post cultural revolution China. The country is developing fast but still recovering from the social and material disasters of the previous decade.
The mastery of the English language by this Chinese author is impressive, and his style is captivating. He writes his stories as if nothing special were going on, while the world around the main characters is actually being turned upside down. Sometimes you get a feeling of lightheartedly reading about the end of civilization.
The book starts with a guy who is bullied by a couple of cops without an apparent reason and then taken to prison when he dares to protest. It goes on with another man who loses his memory after having being caught in a devastating earthquake, an actor who is asked to fight against a real tiger for a movie scene, extramarital and homosexual relationships against a very conservative social background, a woman who is taken for a ride by a powerful guy who is trying to avenge an old offense, a couple of peasants who are arrested on account of a joke with political implications, a little kindergarten girl learning how the world around her works, a weird recommendation letter sent to a university professor, another woman who comes back to her hometown after spending a few years abroad and finally the vicissitudes of the crew of a foreign fast food chain branch.
If you’re interested in Chinese society this is a very good read.

No comments: