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.”