Publication Date: June 9, 2009
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Dai Wei, a PhD student and protestor in Tiananmen Square in June 1989, was caught by a soldier's bullet and fell into a deep coma. But as the millennium draws near, he begins to emerge from unconsciousness, and to sense the massive changes in his country. At once a powerful allegory of a rising China, and a seminal story of the Tiananmen Square protests, Beijing Coma is Ma Jian's masterpiece.
MA JIAN is the author of a memoir, Red Dust, as well Stick Out Your Tongue as the story collection, Stick Out Your Tongue, which was banned by the Chinese government. He lives in London.
An extraordinarily effective novel . . . for all its savagery, it is one of the most optimistic novels I've encountered in a long time.
[A] masterful new novel . . . Ma Jian offers the Chinese people an avenue through which to retrieve their souls.
There are passages of extraordinary power, which, in chronicling the horrors perpetrated by the Chinese government in the Mao era and after, belong in the pantheon of dissident literature.
Evocative . . . Part of what gives [Beijing Coma] its highly energized, manic edge is the fierceness of Ma Jian's conviction that it might be possible for a work of literature to function as a lifeline to cast out into the world.
A courageous and clarion writer.
An epic novel that reminds us of the capacity of fiction to stir the conscience and exhorts us to believe in the power of even one voice.
So remarkable is it that we should suddenly receive this gift, an account of Tiananmen as breathless as John Reeds' gee-whiz account of the Russian Revolution, Ten Days that Shook the World, I've almost neglected to mention how carefully Ma Jian constructs his time capsule.