Meili, a young peasant woman born in the remote heart of China, is married to Kongzi, a village school teacher, and a distant descendant of Confucius. They have a daughter, but desperate for a son to carry on his illustrious family line, Kongzi gets Meili pregnant again without waiting for official permission.
Meili, a young peasant woman born in the remote heart of China, is married to Kongzi, a village school teacher, and a distant descendant of Confucius. They have a daughter, but desperate for a son to carry on his illustrious family line, Kongzi gets Meili pregnant again without waiting for official permission. When family planning officers storm the village to arrest violators of the population control policy, mother, father and daughter escape to the Yangtze River and begin a fugitive life. For years they drift south through the poisoned waterways and ruined landscapes of China, picking up work as they go along, scavenging for necessities and flying from police detection. As Meili's body continues to be invaded by her husband and assaulted by the state, she fights to regain control of her fate and that of her unborn child.
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"The Dark Road follows the river-borne escape of fugitives from the one-child policy. An ill-matched couple's flight along anarchic backwaters leads them into a raw, brutal, brilliantly depicted boom-time underworld" -- Boyd Tonkin Independent "One of China's most prominent dissident voices addresses the bleak effects of the one-child policy in this striking novel, in which the brutality of social engineering is made graphically plain. Ma Jian's work is banned in China; this unflinching portrait of one woman's struggle against oppression makes it sadly easy to understand why" New Statesman
About Ma Jian
MA JIAN was born in Qingdao, China in 1953. He worked as a watch-mender and a painter of propaganda boards and was assigned a job as a photojournalist for a state-run magazine. At the age of thirty, Ma Jian left work and travelled for three years across China, a journey he later described in his book "Red Dust," winner of the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award 2002. He left Beijing for Hong Kong in 1987 but continued to travel to China, notably to support the pro-democracy activists in Tiananmen Square in 1989. After the hand-over of Hong Kong he moved to Germany and then London, where he now lives. Books by Ma Jian translated in English include his novel, "The Noodle Maker," and his short story collection about Tibet, "Stick Out Your Tongue, "the book which prompted the Chinese government to ban Ma Jian's work and which set him on the road to exile. FLORA DREW is Ma Jian's English-language translator and interpreter. She studied Chinese at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and worked in television and film. She lives in west London with Ma Jian, and their four children.
The Dark Road by Ma Jian
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