The Real Story of Ah-Q and Other Tales of China

Lu Xun

Essential early 20th centurey Chinese literature in a brilliant, limpid new translation by Julia Lovell.
Few books shed as much light on the culture and makeup of Chinese society. Still deeply relevant and utterly compelling.
There’s extra value in the book’s introduction, by Yiyun Li. I particularly like this sharply perceptive passage: “Within years of his creation, Ah-Q – Lu Xun’s most extended denunciation of the idiotic, able-bodied everyman – had begun to enter the language as expressive shorthand for every imaginable blemish on the national character: its obsession with face; its superiority complex; its servility before authority and cruelty towards the weak; its conceited delight in ignorance.”
Much strong writing in the preface, too, about the political misuse of Lu Xun by Mao and since.
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