The Vixen

Mao Dun, Author, Tun Mao, Author China Books & Periodicals $5.95 (266p) ISBN 978-0-8351-1608-4
Most of these tales and essays were written prior to Dun's becoming the People's Republic of China's minister of culture in 1949, and they are politically passionate and propagandistic. As documents of the Revolution, they may be engaging, but as literature they fail to satisfy. ``Creation'' chronicles the rift between a young couple over social and political issues, and as such reflects the tension in pre-Communist China, but, like other stories here, it is overwhelmed by its intellectual concerns. Conflicts are too often seated in the political economy instead of the desires and minds of the characters. The exception, and the best piece, ``The Shop of the Lin Family,'' is a sympathetic, Dickensian look at an honest merchant caught in a hopeless struggle with creditors and corrupt officials. A moment in ``Second Generation'' perhaps expresses Dun's message most succinctly, as a boy returning home from a political protest tells his parents, ``These are our slogans. We really shouted them today!'' Most of Dun's writing strains under superfluous description, an awkward sense of movement and melodramatic plots.plotting ok? or plots?/pk (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 12/01/1987
Release date: 12/01/1987
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