Library Ed. Recorded Books 2009
CS ISBN 9781440746031 $72.75 Nine cassettes
CD ISBN 9781440746048 $102.75 Nine CDs
DD ISBN multiple sources
In her equable reading, Jackie Chung offers virtually no embellishments for this novel, set in the fictional Chinese city of Muddy River in 1979. Perhaps Chung realizes that no fireworks are necessary, and that Li's novel, so restrained itself, but no less harrowing for it, requires no artificial pumping up. The disparate characters live in the uneasy shadow of the Cultural Revolution but also at the beginning of pro-democracy activism. That uneasy tension is apparent as the characters deal in their various ways with the awful event of one particular day when a young woman is scheduled to be executed as a counterrevolutionary. The cruelties not only of a totalitarian regime but also of a hidebound culture are equally hard to bear. To her credit, Chung doesn't try to manufacture emotion, realizing it's not at all necessary. M.O. © AudioFile 2010, Portland, Maine [Published: APRIL 2010]
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