This is a collection of strange stories, comically absurd in some places and Kafakaesque in others. They are set in the Chinese city of Muji City in the era after Mao when China was opening up to the rest of the world. It is still a communist nation, and some of the stories are about people caught up in conflict with the overwhelmingly powerful state and their doomed attempts to fight back. In the title story, for example, a young married man finds himself incarcerated for the crime of homosexuality. In the last story, "After Cowboy Chicken Came to Town", workers in an American-owned fast food business learn something about capitalism. Ha Jin is a great writer, but I didn't think these stories were a lot of fun.