The Broken Betrothal

Gao Xiaosheng, Author, Gao Xiaosheng, Author, Gao Xiao-Sheng, Author Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group $6.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-8351-2051-7
In this wonderful collection of short stories, Xiaosheng, a Chinese writer exiled to the countryside for 22 years, provides not only a clear, sometimes harsh picture of the difficult conditions endured by peasants during the Cultural Revolution but also portrays the ordinary details of life under extraordinary circumstances. In the outstanding ``Li Shunda Builds a House,'' the title character's attempts to construct his own home are constantly thwarted by last-minute changes in government policya tale capturing perfectly the frustration of people subject to incomprehensible rules and regulations. A daughter's desire to break the marriage contract negotiated by her parents in the title story illustrates the conflict between old traditions and new ways of thinking, as does ``A Bride for Guoming,'' in which a young woman does not know how to attract the attention of the man she loves. American readers will appreciate the tenacity and strong moral codes of these characters as well as Xiaosheng's good humor and simple style. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 12/01/1987
Release date: 12/01/1987
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