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Get a fresh start. Catherine Taylor. Ironically, the suppressing of one form of liberty has allowed his own freedom of expression to flourish — Ma is a far more explicit, and, for a man of famously tranquil demeanour, enraged interpreter of China than his compatriots. With his schooling interrupted by the Cultural Revolution, Ma became self-taught, copying out the Chinese dictionary word for word.
Ma was criticised by some reviewers for the pitiless nature of The Dark Road , saying it lacked the biting levity of some of his earlier novels. Ma Daode is a buffoonish figure who amasses bribes like sweets and balances his 12 mistresses through a collection of mobile phones and a succession of banal text messages, designed by Ma to reflect and lampoon the ludicrous slogans of the party. Not for nothing has Ma been called both the Orwell and Solzhenitsyn of Chinese literature; his depiction of a totalitarian state is lancing.
The horrific battle that ensues is a microcosm of progress in reverse: increasingly uneasy with his position of power, bellowing uncertainly from a megaphone, Director Ma confuses the exhortations of Chairman Mao and Xi Jinping: the names may have changed, the whiff of despotism remains the same. Do you have a favourite book that was published in ?
Manage cookies. Choose your FT trial. A bold and brutal novel by the exiled Chinese author charts the mental unravelling of a corrupt public official. Catherine Taylor November 16, Reuse this content opens in new window. Promoted Content. Information about Topic Tracker. Close drawer menu Financial Times International Edition.