By Xiaolu Guo
The newest novel from Orange Prize finalist Xiaolu Guo is the enchantingly shaggy dog story of a tender chinese language woman's existence 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 perspective extra in line with her peasant upbringing than the country's revolutionary capital. yet after studying the fever and tumult of the town, Fenfang eventually unearths her precise independence within the one position she by no means anticipated.
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Anyway, Xiaolin hated him. Not that there was anything between me and Ben to start with. Xiaolin said Ben pretended he was just a young student, but actually he was storing up information on the Chinese so that he could go and work for some east-coast American corporation telling them how to exploit us. Soon after I moved into my new place, Ben came to look at it, clutching a shaking two-leaf scarlet lily against his chest. All the members of the Neighbourhood Committee gaped at him with open mouths and swollen eyes as he stood at the gate.
Ah, finally, I was something. When I was with Xiaolin, I had kept these proofs of my accomplishments hidden in a box under the bed. In my new apartment I dedicated a drawer to them. I called it my Chairman Mao drawer, and a very solemn drawer it was. The Wubi typing-course certificate, the Modern American Literature Knowledge Approved certificate, the certificate for speaking 'Crazy English', the driving theory certificate... they all went into the Mao drawer. It also contained my TV insurance, my electricity account, my bank statement, my telephone bills and my virus vaccination certificate.
Was it the size of a ping-pong ball or a volleyball? I had no idea. The Red Sox reminded me of the chasm between Ben and me, between our experiences. The Red Sox made me depressed. The ring of the phone was unforgiving. It couldn't be my far-away Ben, and it was too early in the morning for Xiaolin to be harassing me. Xiaolin had got hold of the phone number at my flat and would sometimes relieve his lonely evenings by dialling it incessantly. It was as though he was intent only on bringing the phone on my floor to life.
20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth by Xiaolu Guo