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Dream of Ding Village

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  542 Ratings  ·  80 Reviews
Officially censored upon its Chinese publication, and the subject of a bitter lawsuit between author and publisher, Dream of Ding Village is Chinese novelist Yan Lianke's most important novel to date.

Set in a poor village in Henan province, it is a deeply moving and beautifully written account of a blood-selling scandal in contemporary China. As the book opens, the town di

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Published January 4th 2011 by Grove/Atlantic, Inc. (first published 2005)
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Apr 04, 2014 Praj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The bow moved horizontally gently tickling the erhu, the melody of a folk song lingered amongst the chilly air as it fleeted through several blank stares, hopeful hearts and frail bodies. The bones shivered in the starry night while the robust voice of Ma Xianglin danced to the tunes of the fiddle; the smell of stale blood fading in the stench of a blood merchant. As Ma Xianglin sang, the bright-red bridal jacket matched wits with Lingling’s cheeks as they blushed to Ding Liang’s flirty stares.
At first, this novel seems like an extensive and overwrought parable - a local village gets into the business of selling its blood for a quick source of cash, and the village itself begins to die.

But the story becomes more horrifying once you know that it is real - Henan Province in China experimented with a 'Plasma Economy' system in the 1990s, offering villagers money for blood donations. But the program is a disaster - using dirty cotton balls, mixing multiple blood samples in a centrifuge, a
Mircalla64 (free Liu Xiaobo)
Feb 14, 2015 Mircalla64 (free Liu Xiaobo) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cina
i cinesi che danno anche il sangue per il loro governo, che in cambio gli regala una bara...

negli anni novanta in Cina il governo incoraggiò la vendita di sangue tra i contadini, come fonte accessoria di reddito,
il tutto avvenne senza controlli igienici e l'AIDS si diffuse in tutta una regione con un numero incalcolabile di vittime
il libro parla della storia del Villaggio dei Ding, e della fine dei loro sogni
da questo libro è stato tratto un film che è stato presentato alla Festa del cinema di R
Sep 17, 2012 Nikki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
I'm not sure what to think of this book. It's horrifying that it's based somewhat on fact, and it made me very uncomfortable as a reader -- partly because it 's hard to tell where the reality ends and the fiction begins.

It's certainly something different, in any case. Parts of it are gorgeously written, though overall I didn't find the prose powerful exactly; even when writing of illness and death, this feels like a fable, like it's detached. Still, it's interesting -- and I think the first book
Oct 22, 2011 Belinda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the early 1990s, China's provincial health authority stumbled into a lucrative business - selling blood to pharmaceutical companies for use in making blood products. Poverty stricken farmers began eagerly selling their blood, and many small villages in rural areas saw a temporary boom in prosperity. Temporary, because the blood collection practices spread HIV. Yan Lianke is from Henan Province, where some estimates say one million people were infected and entire villages were wiped out by the ...more
Jul 05, 2015 Philipp rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: china
That was depressing, so misantrophic -

It's the story of Ding Village told from the unnamed dead narrator and its fall due to AIDS. It's a recent story - poorer regions of China hoped to improve their lives by selling their blood. The trade was quickly privatized, a lot of corners were cut, the blood buyers kept on re-using needles with the effect that Hepatitis and HIV spread quickly (here's a good write-up from The Economist).

The story itself is told mostly with the dead child's grandfather as
Dec 18, 2014 Helmut rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: china
Für ein paar Liter Blut
Die Chinesen hatten schon immer ein besonderes, relativ gelassenes Verhältnis zum Tod. Eine Mischung aus Fatalismus und dem festen Glauben an ein Leben nach dem irdischen Tod sorgt dafür, dass man sich mehr darum kümmerte, wie man starb, als dass man starb. Nachkommen, die die Riten für die Verstorbenen durchführen, ein schöner Sarg, und die meisten waren zufrieden.

Der Sarg spielt sowieso in diesem Roman eine große Rolle. Je größer, schöner und besseres Holz verwendend, um
Jan 09, 2012 Shiela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
Haunting is the first word that comes to mind whenever I think about this book. Set in contemporary China, Lianke takes us on a journey to a remote village in Henan Province during the blood selling boom which resulted in entire villages being wiped out by AIDS through the use and reuse of needles and cotton swabs.

We meet Ding Hui the “Bloodhead” who becomes a very wealthy man cajoling the villagers to sell him their blood. Then there’s Ding Liang, Ding Hui’s brother who becomes infected with t
Jan 20, 2012 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel could be a parable for the Great Leap Forward except that stories like Ding Villlage really happened in China. Peasants sold their blood and developed HIV and later AIDS. Some villages were wiped out when everyone died from AIDS or fled the depressing conditions of what amounted to a death camp. Just like in the Great Leap Forward, the peasants were the ones to suffer the most in these blood selling rackets. Yan Lianke does a great job showing how women AIDS patients are treated diffe ...more
Mark Staniforth
In 'Dream Of Ding Village' Yan Lianke, one of China's most pre-eminent and controversial novelists, tackles the harrowing topic of AIDS in his country's impoverished rural regions.
Longlisted for the 2011 MAN Asian Literary Prize, 'Dream of Ding Village' is as gruelling as you might expect given its subject matter. But Lianke lends it an extra dimension by employing his trademark satire and black humour to devastating effect.
Lianke's most famous work, 'Serving The People', about an affair between
Jul 12, 2011 Ted rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book jumped out at me from the shelf at my beloved Sheffield library. I originally thought it would be good for my Chinaphile wife, but got hooked. The book quickly pulls you into a slower time that is distant and yet familiar at the same time. Somewhere between fact and fiction is Ding Village, a place in rural China that has fallen victim to the clash of socialism versus capitalism.

The poor but peaceful village has been invaded by a disease. Greed has turned villager against villager, hu
Oct 21, 2012 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dream of Ding Village is the sad and poignant story of a village destroyed when old ways meet new and the devastating effect it had on a family. The Ding family had lived in Ding Village for generations but the village is struggling with poverty a huge problem. The town directors looking to turn things around decide to open blood collecting centres were people have there blood taken in exchange for money. For a while things improve with people having more money but then illness starts to show it ...more
Mar 08, 2011 Marianne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yan Lianke’s latest work, Dream of Ding Village, is narrated by Ding Qiang: “I was only twelve, in my fifth year of school, when I died. I died from eating a poisoned tomato I found on the way home from school…I died not from AIDS, but because my dad had run a blood collection station in Ding Village ten years earlier. He bought blood from the villagers and resold it for a profit.”
Qiang’s narration details how the dirt-poor villagers were coerced into selling their blood at Government-sanctione
Shin Yu
Oct 25, 2012 Shin Yu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Based on real-life events, this is a haunting novel on greed and how it destroys one family and its community. Ding Village is a township falling into decay, people drop dead everyday from the "fever." HIV/AIDS has contaminated over half of the population which has engaged in blood selling to raise money to develop the local economy and bring its residents out of poverty. Corrupt blood brokers, or blood heads, arise to compete with government blood banks, reusing needles and dirty cotton balls o ...more
Jun 19, 2011 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
YAN Lianke's beautiful prose, unique characters, and distinct stylistic devices made a (based on actual events) story about the AIDS crisis in China easier to swallow: In order to raise the economic status of remote villages in China, unmonitored and unrestricted blood banks emerge to buy citizens' blood - only to destroy the families and communities in the process.

Dream of Ding Village was a very good read. Every once in a while it's nice to find a read from an Eastern writer, a translated pie
Sep 22, 2015 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It wasn't until after I finished this book and was reading more about it that I realized that blood-selling wasn't just a metaphor—it was based on real events. Props to Lianke for telling the tragic, complex story of an infected village.
Nancy Oakes
Simply stated, this is a phenomenal novel, one of my favorites for 2011. It's so good in fact, that I'm surprised more people haven't read it. Then again, I tend not to read like most people, so maybe I'm not surprised. It's translated from Chinese, deals with very delicate and depressing subject matter (largely because it's based on fact), but the writing is so incredibly good.

This book merits quite a lengthy review, you know, the kind hated by most people who are just looking to see if it's g
Apr 20, 2011 Caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Based on the true story of the calamity that fell on the poor villagers of the author's native Henan province. Harrowing tales of deluded villagers selling their blood over and over again only to find out that they were spreading the AIDS virus to themselves and their neighbors, which led to the orphan crisis in the villages. Parents were quaratined from their healthier spouses and their children, while many children were left with no one to care for them since their parents and other relatives ...more
Jan 09, 2012 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: china
Dream of Ding Village by Yan Lianke is a powerful book: like The Plague by Albert Camus it shows how quickly a society can degenerate under pressure…

Ding Village is a microcosm of society: it has been a small, inconsequential part of China’s backdrop for centuries. Its traditions and ways of being have withstood all kinds of change over time, but the onset of HIV/AIDS means it is doomed.

To read my review please visit
Bivisyani Questibrilia
When I delved into this book, I didn't really know what to expect. Everyone in the world knows China has plenty of scandals and I thought this book might enlighten me on one or two of them. However, I'm forgetting that this book is fiction, so it is quite unclear whether or not anything happening in the story actually happened - much less so that the government was so hell-bent on preventing this book from getting published. However, as I started reading, the image that came into my head was sim ...more
JJ Aitken
It is proving to be really difficult to express how profound this novel was for me. This is a truly epic, modern Chinese tragedy. Written with a beautiful sense of naive compassion that kept me having to remind myself that, yes this is really happening. This is a fictionalised tale born from the events of China’s black market blood trade that arose in the 1990’s. This is a market that has and continues to spawn an AIDS epidemic that is killing off entire populations of provincial Chinese village ...more
Avevo un po’ di timore nei confronti di questo libro.
Il primo libro di un autore cinese che leggo, e su un tema abbastanza pesante come l’esplosione dell’epidemia di HIV nella campagna cinese in seguito alla decisione dello stato di comprare il sangue dai cittadini, per creare una banca del sangue.
E sopratutto, in seguito ai metodi poco ortodossi e affatto igienici con cui l’intera operazione era stata portata avanti dai dirigenti locali.

Invece la lettura è agevole e scorrevole, leggera e quasi
I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this story. The translation was decent. I think Cindy Carter struck a fairly balanced chord of making it accessible to western readers while keeping (somewhat) the poetry that is Chinese writing. I found her to be among the Lisa See, Gail Tsukiyama crowd. But what surprised me most was how not depressing this book is. And yes, this book is dealing with some incredibly heavy topics, mainly death and greed and ignorance. But no matter what happens, ...more
Apr 15, 2012 Sophia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: china, 2012, hiv-aids
Dream of Ding Village is a morally complex story about a rural Chinese village dealing with the aftermath of HIV/AIDS due to unscrupulous blood-selling. However, it was likely censored in China as a thinly veiled critique of the country's runaway development. The story is strangely narrated by a 12-year-old ghost, the son of the chief "bloodhead" of Ding Village in Henan province who was poisoned in retaliation for most of the town coming down with "the fever" after a short-term prosperity. The ...more
Mar 23, 2012 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: china
A true (broadly) and tragic story about a village completely wiped out by the AIDS epidemic that followed the mass selling of blood... it's unbelievably awful, but rather difficult to get into as it reads like a (terrible) fairy tale, narrated unjudgementally by the deceased son of the chief bloodbuyer-cum-coffin-profiteer.

There is nothing romantic or heroic here (other than one central relationship, arguably) as most of the book is concerned with the villagers' preoccupations with saving face,
I read Yan Lianke's Dream of Ding Village while lying by a pool on the Greek island of Rhodes and I have to say this did not make for a good holiday read — it was far too grim and oppressive to truly enjoy while soaking up the sunshine.

Nevertheless, it's an important story — and one that needs to be told if we are to learn anything about the value of our health, prevention of disease and the importance of proper regulated medical care.

It is set in a village in rural China devastated by the AIDS
Dream of Ding Village is written in very much a different style and feel than the first three from the list and the nuanced language at times did bring forth images of Chinese characters – a great leap from the stark removed style of Alice by Judith Hermann, which I finished only the day prior to starting this.

This novel is told through the eyes of a young dead boy, the son of a local “blood merchant”. However the boy is not the central character here, with the father Ding Hui, his brother Ding
Jun 07, 2013 George rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dream of Ding Village deserves a re-write -- it has the ingredients of a classic novel, but fails to deliver. The prose reads like a simplistic young adult book (the fault of the translator?), and for what reason I can't understand, the book is narrated by a deceased 12-year old boy.

Yan Lianke provides a fictional account of government-mandated blood donations in China during the 1990s. Rural villagers were lured into giving up their blood for cash hand-outs by "blood heads" who exploited them
Zen Cho
I confess I often avoid books by authors from China which have been translated into English, because they always seem like they're gonna be horribly depressing.* Unfortunately this stereotype is true with this book. (It's about the blood-selling scandal in which villagers were persuaded/forced to sell their blood, got infected with HIV, and died without any reparation or recognition.) It's a satire so it's funny as well as horrible, and it's more about the impact of the situation on the personal ...more
Pep Bonet
Jan 17, 2014 Pep Bonet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel-la, xinesa
Probably my last Chinese reading were poems by Chairman Mao (or was it the Red Book?). I mean, I can easily say I had never read Chinese literature. And I just discover a very good book which tells us about the great changes in China. The story is the story of the Ding village and the Ding family. But it is a bit the story of the country. A story of greediness and violence, of change breaking with the past, of the overhaul of the old times and the arrival of new ones which produce fear. They gen ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: ISBN 978-1780332628 2 16 Jun 04, 2013 11:01AM  
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Yan Lianke (Chinese: 阎连科), born 1958, is a Chinese writer.
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