Serve the People!

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Constable, 2007 - China - 228 pages
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A sexually charged satire of the Cultural Revolution and a huge underground hit in China, where it is banned.

'Slanders Mao Zedong, the army, and is overflowing with sex & Do not distribute, pass around, comment on, excerpt from it or report on it.' Chinese Central Propaganda Bureau

This political satire by one of China's most distinguished authors has been banned in its native land for its depiction of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) during the Cultural Revolution. Set in 1967, at the peak of the Mao cult, when 'Serve the People' was one of the great man's most famous slogans, it tells the story of the bored wife of a military commander who artfully seduces a peasant soldier. When the lovers discover that the sacrilegious act of breaking a statue of Mao deliciously increases their desire, they compete to see who can destroy the most sacred icons of their Great Leader - smashing the commander's beloved Mao icons, ripping up the "Little Red Book" or defacing the Great Helmsman's epigrams. Defacing an image of Mao was punishable by death during the Cultural Revolution. Yan Lianke tramples on the most sacred taboos of the army, the revolution, sexuality and political etiquette. As a subversive critique of official corruption, leadership hypocrisy and the insanity of the Cultural Revolution, his book has a huge cult following in China.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Larou - LibraryThing

Satire does not criticise; indeed, the best satire is the very opposite of criticism: It is relentless, unflinching affirmation. Satire embraces the way things are with boundless enthusiasm, joyfully ... Read full review


User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Satirical novel of love during the Cultural Revolution."Serve the people," a slogan taken from a speech Mao Zedong gave in 1944, plays a paradoxical role in the life of Wu Dawang, an orderly assigned ... Read full review


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About the author (2007)

Yan Lianke was born in 1958 and is one of China's most established literary writers. His many novels and story collections have won several of China's most prestigious literary prizes. His next novel deals with blood contamination in the province where he was brought up in China and is certain to add to the controversy surrounding his work.

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