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Beschreibung des Verlags
A tragicomic novel of a father and son coping with China’s Cultural Revolution, from “a true literary talent” (Anchee Min, author of Empress Orchid).
Winner of the Man Asian Literary Prize
In a peaceful village, it has been officially proven that Ku is not, as was once believed, the son of a revolutionary martyr, but the issue of a river pirate and a prostitute. Mocked by his neighbors, Ku leaves the shore for a new life among the boat people. But refusing to renounce his high status, he—along with his teenage son—keeps his distance from the gossipy lowlifes who surround him.
Then one day a feral girl, Huixian, arrives looking for her mother. The boat people, and especially Ku’s son, take her into their hearts. But Huixian sows conflict wherever she goes, and soon the boy is in the grip of an obsession. Raw, emotional, and unerringly funny, this is a story of a people caught in the stranglehold not only of their own desires and needs, but also of a Party that sees everything and forgives nothing.
In this Man Booker-shortlisted novel, Tong (Raise the Red Lantern) chronicles the misadventures of a lovesick young man left behind by China's new prosperity. Ku Dongliang's father, Ku Wenxuan, is the powerful Secretary of Milltown; his mother, Qiao Limin, is a radio propagandist; and their relation to a beloved revolutionary martyr has earned them much respect. But an official investigation reverses their fortune when it's discovered that there is no relation to the martyr. Wenxuan loses his job, Limin questions his faithfulness, and Dongliang's classmates dub him "Kongpi," or "emptier than empty, and stinkier than an ass." Dongliang then follows Wenxuan into ignominy by living among the vulgar but kind-hearted boat people of the Golden Sparrow River. After Wenxuan literally, and graphically, attempts to excise the lust that lead to his ruin, his features transform, making him resemble a fish. He also becomes increasingly bothered by Dongliang's burgeoning sexuality, which only worsens when the boat people adopt a mysterious orphan girl. Dongliang's obsession with her drives him to disobey his father, and society, and soon everything begins to look "kongpi." Finally, he makes off with a revolutionary monument without considering its true weight. Tong's characterizations are thin (particularly the women), and the logic of his plot questionable, but his unflinching attention to hypocrisy and bitterly absurd sense of humor are in fine form.