Lucas Klein reviews Chan Koonchung's The Fat Years, translated by Michael Duke
The cover screams “The Book No One in China Dares to Publish,” the Financial Times and The Observer have offered ad-like reviews, and copies have spilled off bookstore displays in Hong Kong and London for months; The Fat Years is the new must-have for the politically righteous book consumer in the English-speaking world. Consumer, that is, not reader, since most reports mention little about the story other than its premise. Probably better this way, since aesthetics too often fail when put up against political righteousness.
Alas, the book is as heavy-handed as the state propaganda it criticizes, and there is more intrigue behind the no one in “no one in China” than within the book’s pages.