Sounds Of The River by Da Chen
Beginning with Da Chen's first ever train journey, travelling to Beijing from his parents' farm, we rumble along with him in the overcrowded and disease-ridden railway carriage to the university. Here the author faces a range of challenges, including poor living conditions, lack of food, and suicidal roommates. Undaunted by these hurdles and armed with a dogged determination to learn English and familiarise himself with 'all things Western', he must compete with every other student to win a chance to study in the US - a chance that rests in the shrewd and corrupt hands of the all-powerful professors. In a richly textured story - by turns poetic, ribald, hilarious, and heartbreaking - Chen retains his indomitable spirit, but will he be any closer to attaining his goal?