I Am China

I Am China

eBook - 2014
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A sweeping, romantic, and complex novel about two young lovers in contemporary China who struggle to overcome politics, family, and secrets of the past. Mu is a young girl in Beijing, a singer, who is in love with a famous young punk rock musician named Jiang. Jiang has subversive political views, and he has written a manifesto that he keeps trying to broadcast, without much success. Instead, he weaves his politics into his music. We learn their story through Lana, a translator who works for a publisher in London. The publisher has come upon letters exchanged by Mu and Jiang as well as their journals, and as Lana translates we learn more and more about the two lovers. Mu's voice dominates, but the fleeting glimpses of Jiang reveal a complex and conflicted man, and together their relationship is anything but easy. Jiang hates his father, his mother is dead, he is well educated, and he is from the North. Mu, on the other hand, is from the South, and shares a strong emotional bond with her parents. After a particularly fierce fight, Mu leaves China to go on tour performing in the United States. Meanwhile, Jiang pushes his political manifesto further, and once the Chinese government is forced to intervene to stop the publication, we learn that he has hidden the truth about his past and especially about his family.
Publisher: New York : Nan A. Talese, 2014
ISBN: 9780385538725
Characteristics: 1 online resource
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Aug 22, 2015

I found this author because I was looking for contemporary notable women with 'Lu' in their names; turns out she doesn't have the same 'Lu', but her framing protagonist knows my story (it's actually a bit uncanny), and the framed protagonists help me triangulate my parents' (generation's stories). Not sure how people who aren't me react to this!

Apr 01, 2015

A translator from Mull, now in London, unravels the letters and diaries of a Chinese musician in exile and a Chinese poet. The idea of using a translator the tell the story is very clever, as the reader too tries to interpret and understand the story of these two people. I was intrigued and then the author would hit a false note. An imperfect book, very critical of China, but nonetheless an enjoyable read.


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