Lapse of Time

Anyi Wang, Author China Books & Periodicals $0 (235p) ISBN 978-0-8351-2031-9
This collection of short fiction by a Chinese woman is of interest principally for the window it opens to the workings of daily life during and after the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). Within that decade, young people are separated from their families and resettled in remote provinces to work the land. The formerly rich must send their children to sell old clothes, and everyone scrambles to buy food at the market. Only the politically privileged have enough living space; discussing the merits of a potential bride, a character says of her, `` `She has a room. That's very important in Shanghai.' '' The sacrifices that members of a family make for each other are catalogued along with the attendant resentment and regret. The title novella, perhaps the best piece here, probes the transformation of an affluent family that suffers deeply during the Revolution but whose wealth is afterwards restored: ``Now that they had come through the Revolution, there should be lessons there to be learned,'' thinks the heroine even as the meaning of her experiences evades her. The book's flawsoccasionally wooden prose, and melodramatic or sentimental plotsdo not significantly impair its allures. (October)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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