- Hardcover: 586 pages
- Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux; First American Edition edition (27 May 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0374110174
- ISBN-13: 978-0374110178
- Product Dimensions: 16.9 x 3.3 x 22.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,072,069 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Beijing Coma Hardcover – 27 May 2008
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"This is an epic yet intimate work that deserves to be recognised and to endure as the great Tiananmen novel ... a magnificent book brim-full of humanity, insight and humour ... beautifully translated by Flora Drew" (Financial Times)
"Once in a while - perhaps every 10 years, or even every generation - a novel appears that profoundly questions the way we look at the world, and at ourselves. Beijing Coma is a poetic examination not just of a country at a defining moment in its history, but of the universal right to remember and to hope. It is, in every sense, a landmark work of fiction" (Daily Telegraph)
"A huge achievement ... a landmark account through fiction of a country whose rise has amazed the world, but which remains cloaked in shadows... finely written and translated" (The Times)
"A modern literary masterpiece ... Ma Jian has created an intense, passionate and painful-to-read parable for today.. The elegant and bravura writing of Ma Jian is utterly convincing" (Sunday Express)
"Monumental... splendidly translated by Flora Drew... This vivid, pungent, often blackly funny book is a mighty gesture of remembrance against the encroaching forces of silence" (Guardian) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
'Like all the most powerful novels, Beijing Coma is deceptively simple... both profoundly poignant and unexpectedly uplifting' --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
Dai Wei, the protagonist, takes the reader along on a trip through his memories of events. We see power struggles in the student movement and feel the tension between wanting greater freedom in society versus being able to live their own lives.
What I missed was a confrontation for Dai Wei with reality 10 years on. I would have liked to see what choices he made in the new reality, with the ideals from back then unevolved. Or maybe they had, with all the time he had to reflect.
The events themselves are detailed and historically accurate. While capturing all the headiness of the student movement as it grew, the book reveals more than the newspaper reports at the time ever did about the squabbles and infighting among students, right up to the night of the army's final onslaught on the square and the horrors that ensued.
But Gripping as it is, this is not just a novel about the student movement and the 1989 massacre, it is also about the massive changes in Beijing, including the lives of many of the students after Tiananmen. Most touching of all, it is the story of the protagonist's mother, whose predicament is so vividly threaded through the narrative. She is buffeted by so many political pendulum swings, yet deep down continues to believe in Communism. Only after Tiananmen are her beliefs shattered. She is the Chinese Everywoman of the 1990s and 2000s, like so many of her generation, unable to benefit from the Chinese economic miracle around her.Read more ›
Dai Wei, then, is imprisoned in his body, unable to get medical attention since the doctors cannot treat anyone injured in the Square (and indeed ambulances are forbidden from helping those shot or run over by tanks), lies in a room, tended only by his mother. He re-tells the story of the build up to the events through a series of flashbacks which are intercut with his current musings on his sad situation, as his mind remains active despite the physical strictures he endures (painful pressure sores, tube feeding, incontinence).Read more ›
There was no way out of this situation. During the demonstration the authorities tried to negotiate with the students, but as they had no real program, no articulate and concentrated leaders and a rather vague understandig of what they wanted to come out of all this, no negotiations were possible. The most surprising thing was that they did not understand that this situation was drawing close to a disaster. The most unbelievable for us was that the communist dictatorship let the situation go so far before they reacted. I think it might be due to a Chinese wish for a more open relationship to the international society and that they wanted to display a more lenient course. Whatever you think of the regime, they had no way out as things developed.
On the other hand, the atrocities from earlier years should prepare the students for violent reactions from the regime. But the students were so idealistic and firm in their belief that the support from large groups of people should make a difference. It is sad to say that even democracies never could have allowed a situation like that to go too far. Look at the students demostrations in Paris in 1968, in USA and even later events.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting book and enjoyed his previous Red Dust. However too much boring, outdated Chinese politics and above all far too slow in reaching main dramatic event. Read morePublished on 28 Oct. 2014 by Amazon Customer
I considered this book to a be a very detailed account of events that transpired before and during the Tienanmen square. Read morePublished on 21 Jun. 2014 by Narut
It gives us an insight in a China that is unknown to most of us. Especially the student world and the way people are living... The almost 700 pages book never bores one minute... Read morePublished on 4 April 2014 by Lutgarde VERSCHATSE
I was very suprised to see so many negative reviews of this book because it is an absolute masterpiece. Read morePublished on 29 Nov. 2013 by DM
Heartfelt and riveting. In spite of its size, quite unputdownable. Leaves you with a sense of tragedy and anger against governments.Published on 6 Jun. 2012 by Chandan D Nath
I enjoyed this novel.It was engrossing and very well written.He has two parts before the student revolution amd Tinamen Square,and afterwards. Read morePublished on 30 Oct. 2011 by BOOK ADDICT
I am really unable to give a proper review as I could not get very far with the book which was our club choice this month. Read morePublished on 9 Nov. 2010 by Hels
I thought Beijing Coma was very well written. It weaves together two stories. Firstly, that of the protagonist's early life and his perspective of the events leading up to and... Read morePublished on 1 Oct. 2010 by Monti
I couldn't finish this book. One of the reviews on the front of the book says 'epic in scope and intimate in detail' it's the sheer level of unnecessary detail that got me. Read morePublished on 16 Jun. 2010 by Ms. J. C. Caswell