THE BOOK REPORT: I Love Dollars and Other Stories of China

I Love Dollars and Other Stories of China
By Zhu Wen
(Columbia University Press)

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For anyone wondering what the moral landscape of the next great superpower looks like as it struggles to fuse its ancient past and politically oppressive present with a seemingly boundless economic future, the answer from writer and filmmaker Zhu Wen is – venal.

In each of the five novellas and the short story that comprise I Love Dollars And Other Stories Of China, a collection published by Columbia University Press, Wen’s anti-heroes prowl through cities, hospitals, capital backwaters, and nightmarish factories where everything is for sale.

The title story, the work that catapulted Wen to national fame in China, tackles head on the conundrum of living life in a country caught between Communism and Capitalism. In Wen’s China, money is the only comfort, defense, and source of meaning. The rest is noise, brutality, and privation. If a fiction is a mirror for its society, then China’s face – in Wen’s mirror – is horribly disfigured.

John Shieber

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