2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
An excellent portrayal of the darker side of Communism,
This review is from: The Vagrants (Paperback)
A very strong first novel which paints a vivid and often disturbing picture of life in Communist China after the Cultural Revolution. Set in a provincial town following the execution of a young woman, 'The Vagrants' follows a disparate group of characters all affected by the uprising that follows the death of the counterrevolutionary. It's a cleverly constructed, well paced and emotionally powerful story with fascinating characters. Of all the novels I've read recently set in China during the excesses of Communism, this is the one that most brings home what it is like to live under a repressive, all-powerful regime.
Yet despite the grittiness of the political and social issues underlying the story, it isn't bleak. It is full of the warmth and colour of people doing their best in difficult circumstances, of small kindnesses as well as painful betrayals. The ending worked well and I found the story arcs of many of the characters unexpected and interesting to follow. The political content of the story is never dull and never takes over, rather the political message is carried through showing the effects of the system, rather than lecturing about them.
A very good novel from an author that I'm sure we'll hear more from.