The Red Guards have branded Wild Ginger's deceased father a traitor and eventually drive her mother to a gruesome suicide, but she fervently embraces Maoism to save her spirit. She rises quickly through the ranks and is held up as a national model for Maoism. Wild Ginger now has everything, even a young man who vies for her heart. But Mao's prohibition on romantic love places her in an untenable position. Into this sexually charged situation steps Maple, creating an uneasy triangle that Min has portrayed with keen pychological insight and her characteristic gift for lyrical eroticism.
In Anchee Min's previous three books she returned again and again to the devastating experience of the Cultural Revolution, which defined her youth. Here, in this slim but powerful novel, she gives us a moving story that goes closer to the core of that experience than anything she has written before, and brilliantly delineates the pychological and sexual perversion of those times. Ultimately, WILD GINGER has the clean lines of a parable, the poignancy of a coming-of-age novel, the sexiness of a French blue movie, and the sadness of a truly tragic love story.
Mordant and absurdist touches abound in Panic, a hilarious, often heartrending comedy of manners from Chinas Roaring Nineties. Liang depicts modern, dysfunctional man as being hopelessly badgered by hypercapitalist performance ratings while Marx and Lenin look on. Deaf, likewise, is high comedy, spinning multiple allegories of truth, faith, and the human condition. Fluently and gracefully translated, these two stories capture the spiritual chaos of todays China, a place as far removed from the exotic Qing Dynasty court as it is from the political and social turmoil of the Cultural Revolution.