Book review: Dream of Ding Village by Yan Lianke

This is a book I didn’t know anything about when I picked it up at the library – it is worth reading. I’ve since learned that the author is one of China’s best and boldest novelists. I’ll have to look for some of his other books.

The basic story is about village where many are dying from AIDS contracted through a blood selling program. The novel is unrelentingly bleak, but eloquently told with bizarre satirical touches that provide relief to the bad news.

It is one of those books where the translation is impressive in its own right. Apparently the translator (Cindy Carter) worked full-time for 10 months to complete it. She said that “The first chapter of Dream of Ding Village is a joy to read aloud in Chinese – musical and prose-poetic, it establishes the tone of the entire novel and introduces refrains that the author returns to again and again.”

She provided equally polished and captivating language, as is clear in this Excerpt from Yan Lianke’s Dream of Ding Village.