The Noodle Maker Paperback
by Ma Jian
From the award-winning author of Red Dust, comes a virtuoso piece of 'red humour' - a darkly funny novel about the absurdities and cruelties of life in modern China.
Every week, a writer of political propaganda and a professional blood donor meet for dinner.
They are unlikely friends - one of them tortured by his 'art', the other fat and wealthy from the earthy business of providing spare blood for the citizens of China.
Over the course of one especially gastronomic evening, the writer starts to complain about his latest Party commission: the story of an ordinary soldier who sacrifices his life to the revolutionary cause.
This is not the novel he wants to write, he tells his friend.
Inside his head lives an unwritten book about the people he knows or sees everyday on the streets - people who lives are far more representative of the world in which he lives...
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 192 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Publishing
- Publication Date: 05/05/2005
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780099459064
- EPUB from £4.99
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Review by Limelite
A satirical look at post-Maoist but probably pre-capitalist China.Two friends meet for dinner, get drunk and talk. One is a writer of political propaganda, the other a professional blood donor. [Not so symbolic and highly symbolic "professions."] The writer recounts stories he would create, had he the courage. The other campaigns to be the subject for his friends new assignment – to write a Communist Hero tale to inspire the worker bees.The novel is constructed around the wanna be novelist's stories that are bridged by the satirical and witty comments of the blood donor. The people who exist in the imagining of the writer lead lives “pulled and pummeled by fate and politics as if they were in the hands of a noodle maker.”Warm, engaging, bitingly humorous, and devastating. Great read that illustrates grim reality as well as astonishing resilience of the Chinese people living under a government that stifles individuality, smothers personal initiative, and punishes originality The style seems less traditional novel and more like a necklace of vignettes, each pearl of a story linked by the intervening conversational commentary and thoughts of the frustrated writer and the assertive blood donor.