Melanie Kirkpatrick on Yu Hua's China in Ten Words
The book's 10 chapters present images of ordinary life in China over the past four decades—from the violent, repressive years of the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution, when the author grew up, to the upheavals and dislocations of the current economic miracle. Along the way, Mr. Yu ranges widely into politics, economics, history, culture and society. His aim, he writes, is to "clear a path through the social complexities and staggering contrasts of contemporary China."
And he succeeds marvelously. "China in Ten Words" captures the heart of the Chinese people in an intimate, profound and often disturbing way. If you think you know China, you will be challenged to think again. If you don't know China, you will be introduced to a country that is unlike anything you have heard from travelers or read about in the news.