I loved this book, just like I loved Hong Ying's other novels. What was 1989 about? Read "Summer of Betrayal", and if you don't get it, and you still want to know, read "Daughter of the River". It is Hong Ying's autobiography, written a few years later than "Summer". Still, "Summer of Betrayal" is like an echo of "Daughter of the River". "Daughter of the River" is about growing up in Chongqing, a city of extremes. It is a voice from the labourers who didn't profit by the so-called Communist revolution. You learn about what happened in the 50s, and before. You learn about the famine. You learn about the 60s and 70s. Cannibalism. Boys executed for homosexuality. Civil war. "Summer of Betrayal" is beautiful and terrible. It doesn't care what you think. The same goes for every novel by Hong Ying. 1989 was about everything that happened since the 30s, at least. Nobody seems to have said that clearly. How do you talk about China in a way that avoids cliche? To read Hong Ying is to listen to voices that have always been there, only they are not what you've been told. You start thinking of the past. What happened? Not 1989, but 1937, for example? Read "K", it has just come out in English, ... "K" and "Daughter of the River" are available in every bookstore in China. They are not about 1989. But they are about everything that led up to it. Sexual pretense is part of the face of China, or of any country, that doesn't want you to remember, to ask your parents, to keep asking what happened. Hong Ying's books are beautiful, and terrible. Look for the short stories, too. One is about an old Chinese opera and a modern French writer who taught in Nanjing in the 1960s, when De Gaulle had taken up diplomatic relations with the PRC. In today's Paris, a Chinese man tries to meet this writer, and to remember what happened there at the university. Paris becomes Nanjing. But it is harder to meet again the person that he was. Do you know what I mean? It is terrible. And you know that these things have happened. Hong Ying always takes her stories from real events. There is one about a Chinese-English Red Guard who blows himself up with a house full of hippies in London. It is a true story. Hong Ying got a prize for it in England. "Summer of Betrayal" is a good way to start reading Hong Ying. There have to be people who don't understand her. I wonder what people seek for in literature. There have been few books, in any language, about any topic, that have moved me like Hong Ying's.