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Description de l’éditeur
The Matchmaker, the Apprentice, and the Football Fan moves between anarchic campuses, maddening communist factories, and the victims of China's economic miracle to showcase the absurdity, injustice, and socialist Gothic of everyday Chinese life.
In "The Football Fan," readers fall in with an intriguingly unreliable narrator who may or may not have killed his elderly neighbor for a few hundred yuan. The bemused antihero of "Reeducation" is appalled to discover that, ten years after graduating during the pro-democracy protests of 1989, his alma mater has summoned him back for a punitive bout of political reeducation with a troublesome ex-girlfriend. "Da Ma's Way of Talking" is a fast, funny recollection of China's picaresque late 1980s, told through the life and times of one of our student narrator's more controversial classmates; while "The Apprentice" plunges us into the comic vexations of life in a more-or-less planned economy, as an enthusiastic young graduate is over-exercised by his table-tennis-fanatic bosses, deprived of sleep by gambling-addicted colleagues, and stuffed with hard-boiled eggs by an overzealous landlady. Full of acute observations, political bite, and piercing insight into friendships and romance, these stories further establish Zhu Wen as a fearless commentator on human nature and contemporary China.
The protagonists of Zhu s eccentric, fast-flowing short story collection are all at odds with the Chinese regime s reigning ideology of the late 80s and the 90s, which appears determined to crush its citizens individuality. After all, the individual is nothing. Our lives have meaning only when we merge with society, notes righteous, delusional Hu Pingping, who attempts to guilt-trip the narrator of Reeducation into believing he impregnated her 10 years earlier, while their old schoolmates, fellow graduates of 1989 (the year of the Tiananmen Square protests), undergo a re-indoctrination exercise dubbed Operation Rebake. In Da Ma s Way of Talking, a charismatic prankster speaks in infectious rhetorical broadsides that have a subversive effect on those around him. In The Matchmaker, a hardened bachelor parries his boss s best efforts to turn him into a respectable married citizen. While these garden-variety rebels are almost invariably beaten down, or worse, by the system, Zhu s quirky rogue s gallery is both entertaining and revealing, as murderers ( The Football Fan ) and apostates (all the rest) illuminate the volatile period that preceded contemporary China s espousal of capitalist enterprise if not democratic reform.