Pub. Date: 09/06/2015
Knowing nothing more than the working-class life he is born into, headstrong Lu Xiaolu reluctantly starts down the path he is expected to follow. At age nineteen in 1990s China, he feels pressure to follow suit with those around him and takes a job at the town’s saccharin factory. Slowly, he adjusts to the bureaucratic factory routine, making the best of the situation by bonding with coworkers, flirting with girls, and refusing to give in completely to the expectations of those around him.
As Lu Xiaolu finds his way, a startling portrait of an economically expanding China comes into view; the propaganda of a common goal gives way to a bottom-line system that he sees as indifferent to individual happiness. But thanks to the relationships he develops, Lu Xiaolu decides to fight for the life he wants.Book Beginnings and Friday 56 are hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader and Freda at Freda's Voice respectively.
'Zhang Xiaoyin and I were sitting by the side of the road."Lu Xiaolu, tell me a story from your past," she said.I was thirty and I hadn't sat on the curb - or the curbstones, as they call them in Shanghai - for a long time. Sitting like that made me feel like I was still pretty young. I told Zhang Xiaoyin to go buy me a milk tea, and then I'd tell her a story. I love the milk tea they sell at the roadside. Just like I love Shanghai's upmarket districts, where the curbs are relatively clean and the flavor of the milk tea is just as it should be. In the city where I grew up, water flooded from the gutters and ran down the sides of the streets, and no one sold milk tea on the street, only soy milk, which tasted like bean dregs. Nothing about that place was particularly great, but I lived there for many years all the same.' p.1I really like this beginning. On the one hand you get a really simple beginning, just two people sitting on the pavement together, but I love Nei's description of the water flooding the gutters, etc.
'The other mechanical object we owned was also palm-size: a rusty little alarm clock. At six on the dot each morning, it would ring with a noise like the prelude to a rock concert, waking us all in a second.' p.56I have a rock song as my alarm on my phone, but it has stopped waking me up somehow. I love the idea of a family alarm though because it would be great if I could have other people wake me up to tell me that my alarm is going off!
So, that was me for today! Young Babylon sounds really good and I can't wait to get started soon! What are you reading?