October 25, 2021

KITAAB

Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Review: The Dark Road – Ma Jian’s devastating attack on Chinese oppression

1 min read

Shafts of humour help to illuminate this brilliantly bleak satire on the ‘one family, one child’ policy: The Guardian

Ma_JianIf a criticism must be made of Ma Jian’s devastating and powerful attack on contemporary Chinese oppression, elegantly translated by his wife Flora Drew, it lies less in the writing and more in the society described. Jian, who researched the novel while posing as an official reporter in the backwaters of China, depicts a terrifyingly random world in which the “one family, one child” policy of population engineering is stuck to with such rigid adherence that mothers-to-be can be seized, taken to down-at-heel makeshift clinics and forcibly aborted, often at extremely late stages in pregnancy.

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