December 7, 2023


Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Dark novel provides searing critique of modern Chinese society

1 min read

Review of Ma Jian’s “The Dark Road” (tr Flora Drew) in the Vancouver Sun.

“The one child policy is a war against women and children,” says Kongzi to his young daughter. His family’s struggle to evade China’s family-planning policy is the driving narrative of Ma Jian’s latest novel The Dark Road. The title is apt: this book is one of the darker ones you are likely to read in this or any year. It could refer equally to the journey of Kongzi’s family, and the path of China itself.

Those who have read Beijing Coma will know that Ma Jian is fearless in his critique of China’s Communist Party, and in his willingness to discuss taboo political subjects like Tiananman Square. As I learned while living in Beijing, any reference to that event is a conversation stopper.

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