Ruined City at the Complete Review
Much of what happens -- most of the 'action', it seems -- is pretty everyday; indeed, Ruined City is remarkable for its willingness to putter along through the everyday, in contrast to so much modern fiction that insists up spectacular and dramatic incident after incident. Here it goes so far that there's a great deal of discussion about (as well as going to) toilets -- from the city-planning stage (there's still a great reliance on public facilities in Xijing, and with the growth of the city a need for more to be built) to the domestic. From arranging meals and meetings to various small items different characters purchase, Ruined City offers an intimate account of what seem like the not too exciting lives of these characters. But that's not quite how it works out: going on at length does serve a purpose; Ruined City does add up to something more, its cumulative and final effect quietly devastating.
attached to: Jia Pingwa