20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth by Xiaolu Guo

By Xiaolu Guo

The most recent novel from Orange Prize finalist Xiaolu Guo is the enchantingly funny story of a tender chinese language woman's lifestyles as a movie additional in hyper-modern, tumultuous Beijing.Though twenty-one-year-old Fenfang Wang has traveled 1,800 miles to hunt her fortune in city Beijing, she is ill-prepared for what greets her: a Communist regime that has outworn its welcome, a urban in slap-dash improvement, and a sexist angle extra in accordance with her peasant upbringing than the country's revolutionary capital. yet after learning the fever and tumult of the town, Fenfang finally reveals her real independence within the one position she by no means anticipated.

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He was out of breath and grumpy. ' I put a finger to my lips – I could sense the old ears and eyes surrounding us. Ben was probably wondering how come the brave Fenfang he knew had suddenly become so gutless. I opened my apartment door and hustled my stupid foreigner inside. I felt safer once I'd got there. Humans need cages around their bodies – wombs, houses, coffins. Ben surveyed my four walls. He caught sight of the pile of CDs, DVDs and video tapes on my dirty carpet and started looking through them excitedly.

None of them meant as much. The most important thing about the Chairman Mao drawer was that it drew a line between me and the immigrant workers who were only temporary residents. Educating myself had allowed me to apply for permanent citizen status in Beijing. Now I was a person with multiple skills, all of which I was expected to dedicate to building the increasingly glorious reputation of my new home. But then a day came when I completely lost trust in my adopted city – a day when I realised that, however useful I was to it, this bastard city could still reject me.

Maybe I would never get to stand and face the ocean as the warmth of spring blossomed around me. Maybe I should tie myself to a train track on a mountain pass too. Fuck it. I lay in bed listening to the phone, the tragic story of the poet spinning round my head. Cha-Haisheng was very young when he died – only 25 years old. It was spring, just before the Tiananmen Square demonstration. Perhaps if he hadn't committed suicide, he'd have become a student leader and defied the armed soldiers. Then he'd have died like a true hero.

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