Ma Jian: 中国梦 (China Dream)

The latest addition to my website is Ma Jian‘s 中国梦 (China Dream). This is a satire of modern Chinese officialdom but, in particular, of President Xi’s China Dream project, which is a plan for Chinese domination, both internationally and domestically. Ma Daode, our hero, for want of a better word, is in charge of the China Dream project in Ziyang. His staff are developing a microchip to be implanted into everyone, which will replace their private dreams with the China Dream. His immediate problem is that his past life is now flooding back into his present life and he did some very unpleasant things in the Cultural Revolution (as did several of his colleagues). Indeed, these past dreams seem to be taking over and are more concern to him than his many mistresses and the continual bribes he receives. Gradually ,they get worse and he has to find a cure. Ma Jian has great fun mocking Chinese officialdom, hypocrisy, corruption and lasciviousness.

Tullio Avoledo: L’anno dei dodici inverni [The Year of the Twelve Winters]

The latest addition to my website is Tullio Avoledo‘s L’anno dei dodici inverni [The Year of the Twelve Winters]. An old man comes to visit a couple and their baby in 1982, saying he wants to write a book about babies born on Christmas Day as their baby, Chiara, was. He comes most years, yet there is clearly something odd about him, not least of which he is able to predict future events and never seems to age. We also have a narrator, telling us of his own messy life. We follow Chiara who messes up her own life, after her father dies. Suddenly, we jump to 2028 and a futuristic London, where all the strange events of the previous part of the book are explained, with the writer Philip K Dick being key to the story. Yes, it is certainly part science fiction but it is also a very clever story and very well written but, sadly, not availabe in any other language.