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'One of the masters of modern Chinese literature' Jung Chang
A searing novel that traces the destruction of a community in communist China.
Told through the eyes of Xiao Qiang, a young boy, this deeply moving novel shares the tragic story of the blood-contamination scandal in China's Henan province.
Looking for a way to lift Ding Village from poverty, its directors and organisers open blood-plasma collection stations, hoping to sell the plasma to those in need. At first the scheme is a commercial success. Soon, however, whole communities are wiped out after contracting HIV. As Xiao narrates the fate of Ding Village, his family is torn apart by suspicion and retribution.
'The defining work of his career... A devastating critique of China's runaway development' Guardian
Lianke (Serve the People!) confronts the black market blood trade and the subsequent AIDS epidemic it sparked, in a brilliant and harrowing novel. Ding village is ground zero for an AIDS epidemic that mushrooms after villagers are coerced into selling their blood and are subsequently infected by contaminated plasma injections. "Blood kingpin" Ding Hui amasses wealth and power, and nothing can stop him, not the murder of his 12-year-old son, Ding Qiang, who narrates from beyond the grave; or his dying brother, Ding Liang; or the pleas of his father, Ding Shuiyang. As the death toll climbs and coffins grow scarce, the survivors become enmeshed in petty rivalries, foolish schemes, and gossip. Shuiyang's dreams give him glimpses of the future, but the villagers won't listen, and soon they've chopped down every tree in town to build coffins, which leaves them without protection from the elements and allows Hui to further exploit the cascading disasters, culminating in a bizarrely booming business to assuage bereft parents by arranging marriages between dead young people that brings Qiang full circle. Carter does a crystalline translation of Lianke's brazen, unflinching portrayal of a community in the throes of collapse.