Dai Wei, a PhD student and protestor in Tiananmen Square in June 1989, was caught by a soldier’s bullet and fell into a deep coma. But as the millennium draws near, he begins to emerge from unconsciousness, and to sense the massive changes in his country. At once a powerful allegory of a rising China, and a seminal story of the Tiananmen Square protests, Beijing Coma is Ma Jian’s masterpiece.
The Chinese government has banned the book. Ma has stated that he wrote the book “to reclaim history from a totalitarian government whose role is to erase it” and named the novel Beijing Coma in reference to this. Beijing Coma was nominated in 2009 for the Man Booker Prize and is one of the New York Times “100 Notable Books of 2008.”
One thought on “International Banned Book Pick: Beijing Coma by Ma Jian”
I have a copy of this on my TBR … and I have to confess that the reason I haven’t read it for Banned Books Week in September is because whenever I’ve gone searching for a book to use, the lists I’ve found have always focussed on books banned in USSR for political reasons, in the US for religious reasons, or in the UK and Australia for prudery. And of course they’re mostly not books in translation.
I have added BC to the Banned Books Week reading list at Goodreads, and thank you for bringing it to my attention.