Paper Republic: Chinese Literature Matters

The Economist Reviews China Dream

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Mr Ma’s critique of the totalitarian mindset recalls that of Soviet-era dissidents. For him, the might of the state rests on its erasure of history, private and public. His anti-hero tells pensioners at a mass golden-wedding festival that “the past must be buried before the future can be forged”. This novel suggests the contrary, in scenes of slapstick mockery punctuated by tragic and elegiac interludes. Coercive amnesia traps a person, or a society, in a cycle of neurotic repetition. What is repressed always returns. Ma Daode finds that “his memories are like footballs on a pond: the harder he pushes them down, the higher they bounce up again.”

attached to: Zhongguo Meng


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