April 13, 2021

KITAAB

Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Dystopia Now: Review of Xu Zechen’s Running Through Beijing — Steven Axelrod

1 min read

Running Through Beijing ought to be profoundly depressing. And yet it isn’t. Just the opposite: it’s uplifting, thrilling. It’s a form of meta-text: the fact that you are reading the book at all, the fact that the book was written and published, confounds the darkness of its message. The novel itself, with its sharp, detailed prose and vivid storytelling creates an exhilaration, a giddy hope in the reader that its characters can never share. —Steven Axelrod

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The novels written about actual dystopian societies, like Xu Zechen’sRunning Through Beijing, have a different purpose: to wake us up.

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