Top positive review
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Humorous Use of Author's Personal Life Experience As Basis For Entertaining Novel
on June 29, 2014
It isn't as dark as the title or the synopsis suggest. In fact, the title is misleading. The main character doesn't sell blood to make a living, but really to help others continue living. I read "To Live" before this one, and "China in Ten Words" before "To Live." "To Live" and this one are similar in that they both bisect the Cultural Revolution in China and tell what it was like living in the countryside during the Great Famine. Each one though is surprisingly funny. And I don't think it's a disingenuous funny. I think these really were ludicrously funny times in China, and it's good to have an author having lived through them portray them in a tragicomic way. China literature is not all opaque kung fu myth, mystical nothingness, and political masochism. It's also pretty humorous and heart-warming. Yu Hua apparently studied the masterpieces because he wanted to be a great writer. This novel shows that he is definitely honing his craft.