Zhang Xianliang, one of China's greatest living writers, spent twenty-two years in Chinese prisons and labor camps until his "rehabilitation" in 1979. Through most of those years he kept a diary of his experiences. Because any detail would have meant the diary's destruction and Zhang's execution, the entries were curt and cryptic; sometimes entire days were condensed into two or three words.
This is a frightening portrait of how a major civilization can bring itself to its knees by mass complicity (it would have been absurdly easy to escape from the camp, yet no prisoner ever thought to do so), told with a deft matter-of-factness that only highlights the horror. At the same time, Zhang does not ignore the minor kindnesses and moments of human recognition that dotted his prison years.
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GRASS SOUPUser Review - Kirkus
A haunting prison diary that depicts the epic sorrow and unmitigated human suffering that took place in the ``re-education'' camps of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Ten years after his release ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - Scriberpunk - LibraryThing
I didn’t expect to like this book. It’s about the author’s experiences in a political prison/re-education centre in China in the late 1950’s. The grass soup of the title is all they had to live on for ... Read full review