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Chairman Mao Would Not Be Amused: Fiction from Today's China

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3.44  ·  Rating details ·  174 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Chairman Mao Would Not Be Amused is a showcase for 20 writers from the new literary generation in China. Hard-core realism, experimental prose, and black humor; exoticism and eroticism;shocking tales of brutality, tender evocations of love, and engrossing mysteries all coexist in an anthology that spans nearly a decade, ten years that have witnessed a dizzying array of ...more
Paperback, 322 pages
Published February 15th 1996 by Grove Press (first published July 31st 1995)
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Hotavio
Sep 05, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Hotavio by: college course
Shelves: books-on-asia
A series of short stories or "Scar literature" regarding Maoist China. I found there to be a great variety of literary styles and topics concerning 20th century China.
Some stories I enjoyed immensely, while others I didn't particularly care for. Among my favorite stories were those that implicated China's superstitions, including "The Cure", in which a family waits underneath a bridge to fish out the gall bladder of a recently executed town official. Another enjoyable story was the ghost story,
...more
Marie-Therese
I have to admit that I'm not quite sure why this anthology has such low average ratings here and on Amazon. While this is a somewhat uneven collection and has its share of duds, there is much here to admire and enjoy. Embracing a wide variety of themes, from ghost stories to love stories, absurdist fantasies to old-fashioned tales of hard scrabble village life, this volume showcases both writers well known in the West and those who've rarely or never been translated before. My favourite stories ...more
Tegghiaio
Entretenida colección de historias cortas de distintos autores chinos. Como suele suceder en estos casos la calidad de los relatos varía de uno a otro y es por ello que no le otorgo una puntuación mayor; no obstante, solo por haberme permitido descubrir la historia de Yu Hua, The Past and the Punishments, ya siento que valió la pena el resto.

Pero esa no es la única historia que resalta en esta colección, también me gustaron mucho The Cure (Mo Yan), The Ancestor (Bi Feiyu), Fritter Hollow
...more
Jonathan
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
Being a collection of short stories by different authors, this book was hit and miss, but I enjoyed most of the stories.

Would recommend it for anyone interested in modern Chinese literature as it's a good introduction to lots of great authors.
Cathryn
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: zhong
The writing in most of these stories is wonderful. It's the stories themselves, and the actions of the characters, that disgusted me: rape, violence, human organ harvesting -- ugh.
Saturnq
Jan 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
**Pardon me as I write this review from the goodread app on my phone with a bad headcold**
Due to the fact that it took me almost six months to finish this book, I've had much time to reflect on the short stories it contains. I read three quarters of it within one week, and the rest slowly over the ensuing months. At first I found many of the stories difficult to understand due to each author's (and translator's) narration style. One story, Green Mother Earth, I still don't understand what was
...more
Joseph Harris
Jan 06, 2012 rated it liked it
From Publishers Weekly

In contrast to the utopian official literature of Communist China, the stories in this wide-ranging collection marshal wry humor, entangled sex, urban alienation, nasty village politics and frequent violence. Translated ably enough to keep up with the colloquial tone, most tales are told with straightforward familiarity, drawing readers into small communities and personal histories that are anything but heroic. "The Brothers Shu," by Su Tong (Raise the Red Lantern), is an

...more
Clint
Sep 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
I read one review which said this book wasn't as good as expected, but I go the other way and say it was better than I'd expected. I guess because most Chinese fiction I've read before was a bunch of academic crap wrttien to be shocking, girls exploring sexuality, people railing against the unfair government, etc., but this collection had some truly entertaining stuff! With the exception of one story, some surrealist nonsense called "Green Earth Mother" or something like that, I liked every ...more
Shelley
Dec 13, 2012 rated it liked it
This is a hard book for me to rate. It was okay but not really something I would read again. It is interesting to see how different cultures look at literature. Some of the stories were just odd. Some of them were sad. Some of them were funny. It took me a while to finish it simply because it was difficult for me to concentrate on the different way it was written. But it was still a good book
Kimfu
Sep 20, 2014 rated it did not like it
I had an EXTREMELY difficult time getting into this book. I felt it was just too boring. But I think that might say more about me than about the authors of this short story collection.

I give "Chairman Mao Would Not Be Amused: Fiction from Today's China" a 1 on a scale of 10. But, again, that probably says just as much about me as about the book.

Note: The explanatory note, "Fiction from Today's China," actually means the China of the early '90's.

二零一六年: 第七本书
Jgknobler
Apr 30, 2014 rated it it was ok
Short stories from China, most written in the 1980's. I found none of them particularly compelling and all of them distressingly avant-garde (I think the editor wants us to be sure we know the Chinese can write in a modern style; it is also possible that many are deliberately obscure to avoid censorship). I longed for an emotionally engrossing story written in a straight-forward fashion, but there were none.
Megan Stolz
Sep 06, 2013 rated it liked it
I had mixed feelings about this collection. I'm not familiar with Chinese literature at all, especially contemporary. I know I judged it as a Western reader, which means I gave it a lower rating, but take that with a grain of salt. Like any collection of short stories, some of them I liked and some I didn't. Overall, I found it extremely interesting to read a collection of short stories from writers that I have never encountered before, in a totally new area of literature.
Lisa
Sep 23, 2007 rated it it was ok
Not as good as I was expecting, unfortunately. The stories weren't very exciting and I found were actually pretty boring. A lot of incest in the stories which I'm never too fond of. Overall the book was a disappointment. But I guess you should never judge a book by its cover because you may end up getting disappointed!
Nava
Oct 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Got this book because one of these short stories was written by last year's Nobel literature laureate.
I liked one or two of them, very human, very alive. But some I frankly just didn't get. Maybe because of cultural references, maybe just because the storytelling style was different. Don't regret picking it up, but can't recommend it either.
Amy
Nov 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
Meh. I was not drawn into this collection the way I had hoped to be. I have read a lot of fiction by Chinese authors and I had hoped that this late 20th century collection of short stories from China would give me a better perspective, but it did not. I guess I should just admit to myself that the short story format is really not for me.
Pollopicu
Jun 17, 2010 rated it it was ok
A collection of short stories by 20 chinese writers. A genre (scar literature) that emerged after the death of Chairman Mao and the fall of the cultural revolution. The stories lacked. There was only one story I enjoyed and that was "The Brothers Shu".
Josiah
Nov 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: didn-t-finish, asia
Some great short stories are included in this collection. I didn't read them all before having to return this book to the library, but I feel like I was able to gain small insights into contemporary Chinese thought.
Nick Wallace
Feb 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
One of the best collections of modern Chinese fiction I've seen. You can only take so much socialist realism (a contradiction in terms).
40brown
Aug 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
a collection of short stories, a great look at post modern Chinese fiction
Megan
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Mar 08, 2014
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Jul 21, 2018
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Kurt Rhee
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Oct 12, 2012
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Aug 19, 2011
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Howard Goldblatt was a Research Professor of Chinese at the University of Notre Dame from 2002-2011 and is a translator of numerous works of contemporary Chinese (mainland China & Taiwan) fiction, including The Taste of Apples by Huang Chunming and The Execution of Mayor Yin by Chen Ruoxi. Goldblatt has also translated works of Chinese novelist and 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature winner Mo Yan. ...more