Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Crazed

The Crazeddisappointed me. I really can't recommend it. There are better novels and nonfiction on China. This is the story of a graduate student in China whose mentor has a stroke. He's engaged to the professor's daughter and genuinely is fond of him so he agrees to look after the old teacher since his daughter and wife are both out of town.

In his sleep the professor babbles or rants in full paragraphs for extended periods of time revealing his past infidelities, disappointments, and betrayals. I've been around people who talk in their sleep and it's never clear prose. It's fragments of truth mixed with the imagined. Thus I couldn't buy the main part of the story.

At the end the main character gets sucked into the Tienanmen Square uprising, which the cover blurbs played up. These important events are very much in the background till the end. I realize most people aren't actual witnesses to major historical events, but the marketing department didn't want anyone to know that. I was led to believe that those events were more central to the plot.

There's a lot on the politics of Chinese universities, but I think that's only of interest to students or people working in universities.

Find something else. Read something by Jan Wong instead.

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