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China Dream

A Novel

List Price: $23.00

ON SALE: May 7, 2019 | Hardcover | 5.5 x 8.25, 176 pages | ISBN 9781640092402
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One of the year’s most anticipated novels in translation, published in the 30th anniversary year of the Tiananmen Square Massacre and the 50th anniversary year of the Cultural Revolution. 

Ma Daode is feeling pleased with himself. He has just been appointed Director of the China Dream Bureau, tasked with overwriting people’s private dreams with President Xi’s great China Dream of national rejuvenation. He has an impressive office, three properties and a bevy of mistresses texting him night and day.

But just as Ma Daode is putting the finishing touches to his plan for a mass golden wedding anniversary celebration, things take an uneasy turn. Suddenly plagued by flashbacks of the Cultural Revolution, Ma Daode’s nightmares from the past threaten to undo his dream of a glorious future.

In China Dream Ma Jian takes the reader on a tragi-comic ride through the horrors and absurdities of totalitarian power. His dystopian vision is set not in the future, but in China today. Written to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Cultural Revolution, China Dream is revealing of China’s moral crises, and what happens to a nation blinded by materialism and governed by violence and lies. In a moment when the characterization of reality is vulnerable to the whims of power, it also poses wider questions that are blisteringly resonant about the way we perceive, understand, and manipulate our histories, as individuals and as a society.

About Ma Jian

MA JIAN was born in Qingdao, China, in 1953. He is the author of Stick Out Your Tongue; four collections of short stories and essays; and six further novels. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages. He now lives in exile in London. Since the banning of his first book thirty years ago, none of his works have been allowed to appear in China.

FLORA DREW’s translations from the Chinese include Ma Jian’s Red DustThe Noodle MakerStick Out Your TongueBeijing Coma and The Dark Road.


Financial Times Best Book of the Year

“A master of inimitable humour. Always hilarious, thought-provoking, and immensely moving.” —Jung Chang, author of Wild Swans and Empress Dowager Cixi

“Mr. Ma’s critique of the totalitarian mindset recalls that of Soviet-era dissidents…tragic and elegiac…garnished with both horror and tenderness.” —The Economist 

“Wrenching…makes President Xi’s vision of national prosperity look like a recipe for insanity.” —Simon Willis, 1843

“Ma has a marksman’s eye for the contradictions of his country and his generation, and the responsibilities and buried dreams they carry. His perceptiveness, combined with a genius for capturing people who come from all classes, occupations, backgrounds and beliefs; for identifying the fallibility, comedy and despair of living in absurd times, has allowed him to compassionately detail China’s complex inner lives. Censoring his novels and banning his name have been Beijing’s cynical response to Ma’s artistry, and to the human lives that the novelist cannot forget, even as the Chinese Dream envelops them.” —Madeleine Thien, The Guardian

China Dream is a magnificent work in its unerring take on China, Ma Jian giving voice to the ghosts and memories of a silenced nation.” —Mike Cormack, South China Morning Post Magazine

“It’s a wonderfully well-paced, absorbing, darkly satirical and even funny at times.” —UK Press Syndication

“A short, highly satirical work no less excoriating than any of Ma’s previous fiction, translated in a graphic, stylish manner by [Flora] Drew, [the author’s wife and longtime translator].” —The Financial Times

“A scathing satire of the absurd reality facing a silenced nation” —South China Morning Post

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