A REVOLUTIONARY GOVERNMENT SHOULD LISTEN TO THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE NOTHING SHOULD FRIGHTEN IT MORE THAN SILENCE In a little less than a week comes the 28th anniversary of the Tiananmen Suare Massacre It would be an interesting calculation to add the ones who want to remember and subtract the ones who want everyone to forget and divide all that by those who think it wasn t important and multiply by those who would die for the sake of continuing the aborted effort if they were only iven the chance to know about it This isn t the only overnment cover up or "THE ONLY SLAUGHTER OF STUDENTS BY "only slaughter of students by own nation or even the only novel written about such things but the event and this book written about it might both be the most well known of their respective infamous categories Irony irony History does it best Mou Sen had told me that if you didn t read Kafka you d never rasp the underlying principles of biologyJust think the literal meaning of the Chinese characters for revolution is elimination of life Much as I love Les Mis rables in some parts it s merely an ancestor of the theatrics masuerading as social justice movements currently running through the aisles of young adult new adult and various movie theaters If you compared Beijing Coma to LM on a superficial level you could I Was A Stranger get away with listing out pages spend on methodologies on justice the protagonist doing their own thing in a limited away outside of the main event of students versus the state and the wide variety of examples of the brutality corruption and executions that a nation was capable of inflicting on its people However unlike the story that birthed a musical there is no redemption here and even less sentimentality This isn t the first book of Jian s I ve read and where his first work of short stories threw me off due to a combination of incomprehension and a less than lush translated writing style here the narrative s vitality is conveyed precisely because it does nothing to rise above the petty details that compose large scale moral action committed by the public He was in the library reading up on the American Constitution It s a bit late for that now isn t it This is Tiananmen Suare There are hundreds of thousands of students and residents here fighting for democracy It s reckless of you to speak like this Our narrator is a prime encapsulation of a less thanripping narrative his noble moments are than eualed by his usual banal thoughts about women sex opportunistic money making schemes and the sort of wildly outlandish dream building characteristic of college students However the fact that he and the rest of the characters are rather nondescript in their suabbles over power and brief moments of revolutionary action does not merit what happens to them Crushed by tanks rendered comatose slaughtered regardless of whether they are a molotov toting radicals or ten year old children again this is not the first time such an incident has occurred in history and will not be the last if those who sit in the seats of power continue on their merry way and I m not referring to those in non White People lands Nearly six hundred pages of writing that is necessary rather than engaging takes its toll but I m pleased to see the rating is at a healthy level despite this The heaven you yearned for is no an epitaph carved on a ravestoneIn these rooms both life and death appear sordid and banal You could et angry if you like The situation hasn t been resolved within adeuate ethical measures nearly three decades on and reading this will do nothing but The Lives of Stay-at-Home Fathers: Masculinity, Carework and Fatherhood in the United States give you the intricacies if you re confident about parsing the nonfiction from the fiction Jian was involved with the democracy movements around this time but whether he was at Tiananmen Suare at the moment of infamy is not something I m willing to judge However if you bear in mind fellow unresolved issues such as repatriation of the land to the indigenous nations of the Americas or reimbursement to descendants of slaves the world over this one is much younger and involved far fewer lives This isn t an attempt to smooth things over in any way but a simple acknowledgment that the ways in which the world is fucked up are many andetting attached to any one of them is exhausting It s why The Hunger Games made bank and NoDAPL made suat and why being nice means shit to me Criticize my tone when I m deconstructing your bigoted "Hate And I Ll Demand " and I ll demand know who s paying you Mabel said that when people march through the streets in America no one bothers to stop and look Perhaps living in a country like that would be even worse A book told from the stundent s point of view of the tianenmen suare massacre It s told retrospectively from a comatose students point of view and slips between his life and mind in the coma and his fatelful tale of those last few weeks before the massacre took place It ets a little boring in the middle i should say but is stunning in the last 200 pages Ma Jian has a interesting way of describing things in a very minimilistic way but in a way that enables you to picture the whole scene Worth a read A staggering book about the Tiananmen Suare uprising in Beijing in 1989 The author begins through the story of our hero. Dai Wei lies in his bedroom a prisoner in his body after he was shot in the head at the Tiananmen Suare protest ten years earlier and left in a coma As his mother tends to him and his friends bring news of their lives in
Ma Jian ß 5 ReadEd the apex just like Wei finally himself in a public suare with one building standing atop in an iron bed Nirvana himself in a public suare with just one building standing atop in an iron bed Nirvana are three major periods of Beijing upheaval in this amazing novel and Dai Wei survives them all first Chairman Mao s Cultural Revolution then the crackdown at Tiananmen Suare and finally the beautification of Beijing for its Olympic bid which brings his mother s housing complex to rubble around him Through all of this turmoil Dai Wei is ever the observer watching as the Cultural Revolution wreaks havoc on his parents marriage as his friends orchestrate the protests at Tiananmen Suare and as his mother struggles in vain to remain "in her home He is in this regard an omniscient third "her home He is in this regard an omniscient third narrator allowing us a snapshot of many characters lives as he witnesses the conversations deaths romantic encounters and psychological struggles that defined these periods in recent Chinese historyWe encounter characters who are of sound body and deadened mind and vice versa No one however escapes with both body and mind intact Of particular interest is Dai Wei s mother who devotes her entire life to caring for his comatose body His mind however is sharp as he travels the neural pathways of his own history and somatic systems Even with eyes closed and body immobilized he can sense his mother s frustration and despair After she is arrested for her participation in a peaceful Falun Gong demonstration and her would be lover Master Yao is imprisoned she returns as broken as Dai Wei s friends after Tiananmen She wishes her comatose son dead so that she can have some semblance of a life but ultimately finds herself echoing the student demonstrators she once so vehemently opposed Down with Fascism The inclination to be free Ma Jian insinuates is innate regardless of ideology and eneration Few novels have driven home for me the horrors of the Cultural Revolution as vividly as this one despite its focus on Tiananmen Suare Ma slips in some harrowing eye popping anecdotes about Red Guard brutality and inhumanity Of course the main event in this book is the unjustifiable brutality against peaceful student demonstrators Ma Jian s epic masterpiece about the 1989 Tiananmen Suare Protests will be present in your mind long after you put the book down if you can do so Dai Wei a PhD student at Beijing University was struck by a bullet during the massacre that followed the student protests As he lies in bed immobile for years he lives in his memories of the past He also silently observes everything around his big iron bed trapped within his body His mother apartment friends and body break down around him while his mind remains unable to move or change This is a metaphor for the natural incessant beauty of China that Dai Wei loves which is unchanging amidst the country s political turmoil This book is a must read for anyone interested in Chinese culture Ma Jian s exuisite style takes you to the rain forests of Yunnan the sweaty southern provinces busy Beijing and explains the beauty of Hong Kongese women You become embroiled in his circle of friends and although there are MANY characters you feel as though they are your friends as well There are a few too many characters for my liking I believe that Jian tries to explain how vast the protests are but by the end you are a bit confused about all the minor characters All in all I am a little too young to remember these protests first hand and I am so Gone: The Disappearance of Claudia Lawrence and Her Father's Desperate Search for the Truth glad that I learned about this era through this book The writing is beautiful and moving while still being historically accurate China in my mind will forever be shaped by Ma Jian and of course Dai Wei i loved Ma Jain before this novel but this one sorry to say i could not finish with all my knowledge of China with my curiosity towards what ha truly this will induce coma in beijing or anywhere else i couldn tet through than 35 pages one problem among others there are no chapters or sections or breaks in the text at all only a single 586 page stream of multi tensed consciousness this book reuires a reader with an unheard of attention span also a reader with some knowledge of the history of the cultural revolution which i do have and still i was bored references to the democracy wall movement do little to inspire excited moments of recognition when the dialogue reads like a history textbook note that i adore history textbooks An absolutely towering masterpiece painful haunting compelling and profound Original and never once dull over the course of 700 pages I wish I could write some words that would do a work like this justice that would make people read it and experience it but I finished the book about 10 minutes ago and my mind is still reeling Don t allow the length and the 1,000 Awesome Writing Prompts grim subject matter to frighten you away This is simply one of the best novels I ve ever read I read this in August I made a note after finishing it and it took some time to finish it Hard to describe Too long but shows immaturity of the students I worry about the Hong Kong protestors of August 2019 Today 12312019 I think I am less worried about the Hong Kong protestors as of today They have many other people from different walks of life in Hong Kong on their side. Ng University As the minute by minute chronicling of the lead up to his shooting becomes ever intense the reader is caught in aripping emotional journey where the boundaries between life and death are increasingly blurre. ,
With the way these students Moonrise (Snowfall, grew up whoave birth to "their desire to claim something different from what was iven to "desire to claim something different from what was iven to parents continuing with the situation in the universities and ending in the uprising and its bloody repression creates a complete chronicle of this process describing in detail each stage putting us in the heart of events transporting us next to the students who struggled and envisioned a different future for their country while dreaming of their own personal happinessWhat makes this From the first page on life literally flashes by the protagonist "He is told This is a clear sign that now on you re " is told This is a clear sign that now on you re to have to take life seriously Dai Wei a Beijing University student has been shot in the head in the 1989 Tiananmen Suare Massacre The story proper begins as the narrator switches to Dai Wei now in a coma We journey with Wei from his birth childhood and adulthood to finality We see him falling for his childhood love Lulu who later betrays him a Hongkongese A Mei who breaks his heart is killed in Tiananmen Suare and might have come back as a sparrow in his last days and then Tian Yi who escaped death and to the US We read how he and his friends in Southern University in Guangzhou devour foreign literature like Kafka s and ideas like Freud s We follow him to Beijing University where he studies biology and which is where he Hello, Snow! gets involved in student protests forovernment reforms We experience his sensations while he lies in a coma being cleaned and fed through a tube by a despairing mother who even if she exhorts him to die soon still attempts to find him healers Interspersed within Wei s narrative is some rather clinical observation of his medical condition Life has never been easy for Wei even at birth when he fell out from his mother into a cold concrete floor his head splitting with pain This is like a foretelling of his fate of being shot in the headWhen he was a teenager the police interrogating him about a banned book he copied out and A Little Dinner Before the Play gave to Lulu threatened him with boiling water from a flask They told him If we don t teach you a lesson now you ll end up with a bullet in your head These words never took as heot shot later as an adult All that cannot compare to other horrors and turpitudes of a country s regime During the period of the one child policy birth control officers carried out forced abortions at family planning clinics throwing foetuses into buckets strangling new babies One kind of horror which traumatizes Wei was experienced by his father in internment camp cannibalism His father might have been eaten himself if he wasn t moved out to Shandung A doctor he talks to in researching such atrocities also adds that local citizens proved their loyalty the Party by executing friends and neighbours Wei learns that revolution in Chinese characters is written as elimination of life Wei himself experiences cannibalization of a sort when his mother had to sell off one of his kidneys to fund his medical upkeep Wei Mastering the Art of Saying No Without Feeling Guilty: Tips, Techniques and Strategies gives us a blow by blow account of how the doctors remove his kidney without anaesthetics The descriptions wouldn t look amiss among cut and kill scenarios in American Psycho The reader can expect similar minute details throughout the entire novel especially in the Tiananmen Suare pages Wei likens the scenes in the Suare to some movie set However the dialogue is not so much akin to a film as sometimes it can be a little stilted and formal But surprisingly this works here because the reader could be watching a Chinese opera particularly one set on an immense stage with stage directions and asides aplenty with a preponderance of characters At best the writing can sometimes read like late 80 s New Journalism investigative articles you find in Rolling Stone and Esuire magazines However there are some moments of lyricism when in love Wei sees Tian Yi as a celestial fairy about to take flight That aside one of the most poignant passages can be found in a visit from Tian Yi when she touches comatose Wei s foot sending him into an almost erotic paroxysm Nearing the book s end things are looking bleak for Wei and his mother who refuses to sign the demolition agreement to her house and receive a pittance of a compensation She is slowly driven to insanity as she is persecuted for being a member of the Falun Gong her electricity water and phone cut off Her neighborhood is being razed to theround for a new shopping complex whose chairman is none other than Lulu Their house is the only one standing bulldozed and rammed just like Wei s friends were by the Chinese army in Tiananmen Suare Nearing the end Wei is now finally starting to see light behind his eye lids when before his entire Weltanschauung while in a coma has been through his ears and noseAt the close of the book the reader encounters a d j vu Without disclosing the d nouement suffice it to say the reader may view this as Gestalt parallelism yin yang or karma no matter which all very similar and universal Also Wei is finally told But once you ve climbed out of this fleshy tomb where is there left for you to Yuganta, The End Of An Epoch go Where indeed If you believe in karma when one does not have anywhere left too there is no cycles left to endure one has reach. N almost unrecognisable China Dai Wei escapes into his memories weaving together the events that took him from his harsh childhood in the last years of the Cultural Revolution to his time as a microbiology student at Beiji.