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    'A dictionary of Maqiao' by Han Shaogong

    Lovell, Julia (2003) 'A dictionary of Maqiao' by Han Shaogong. New York, USA: Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231127448.

    Full text not available from this repository.

    Abstract

    Book synopsis: One of the most-talked about works of fiction to emerge from China in recent years, this novel about an urban youth "displaced" to a small village in rural China during the Cultural Revolution is a fictionalized portrait of the author's own experience as a young man. Han Shaogong was one of millions of students relocated from cities and towns to live and work alongside peasant farmers in an effort to create a classless society. Translated into English for the first time, Han's novel is an exciting experiment in form—structured as a dictionary of the Maqiao dialect—through which he seeks to understand and translate the local life and customs of his strange new home. Han encounters an upside-down world among the people of Maqiao: a con man dupes his neighbors into thinking that he has found the fountain of youth by convincing them that his father is in fact his son; to be scientific" is to be lazy; time and relationships are understood using the language of food and its preparation; and to die young is considered "sweet," while the aged reckon their lives to be "cheap." As entries build one upon another, Han meditates on the ability of a waidi ren (outsider) to represent the ways of life of another community. In this light, the Communist effort to control the language and history of a people whose words and past are bound together in ineluctably local ways emerges as an often comical, sometimes tragic exercise in miscommunication.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Book
    Additional Information: Julia Lovell is the translator of this item.
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > History, Classics and Archaeology
    Depositing User: Sarah Hall
    Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2017 14:15
    Last Modified: 06 Mar 2017 14:28
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/18267

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