people are like this

Many of you have already read Eileen Chang’s (张爱玲) The Rice-Sprout Song and Naked Earth. I only came to them recently, an undergraduate degree in Chinese language and literature, notwithstanding. (I did read Love in a Fallen City!) Both The Rice-Sprout Song and Naked Earth are political novels (and ostensibly anti-Communist); both are based on true stories; both suggest  how the institutionalization of revolution not only changed traditional landscapes, but also the emotional worlds of Chinese farmers and intellectuals (there is a sense in that the early cadres had already been transformed), and; both show compassion for the helplessness of individuals unprepared for the level of violence that the regime’s various movements would incite and possibly require, which is implied throughout the novels. To fall into the colloquialisms of my youth: “you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.”

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