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The corpse walker : real-life stories, China from the bottom up
Liao Yiwu
Adult Nonfiction HD8736.5 .L56 2008

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In this rich, often harrowing oral history, Chinese writer (and notorious target of censors) Liao travels to the margins of Chinese society, interviewing 27 outsiders from China's forgotten classes. The book contains an incredible cast of characters: a grave robber, a composer, a leper, a professional mourner paid to wail at funerals, a human trafficker and a delusional peasant who has anointed himself emperor. These conversations, largely recorded from memory, showcase Liao's empathy for his subjects and a particular talent for getting into tight situations; on one occasion, the author is forced to leap out of a three-story building when he fears the Communist government is targeting him for talking to a Falun Gong supporter. Liao's research took 11 years, and his final product is a stunning series of portraits of a generation and class of individuals ignored in history books and unacknowledged in the accounts of the "new" China. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

A popular and much-censored author in China, Laio here illuminates the lives of those at the very bottom of Chinese society--people who don't officially exist in today's modern China and who were often the most affected by the Cultural Revolution. Based on conversations Laio had between 1990 and 2001 and presented in interview format, this book offers the oral histories of 27 intriguing men and women, who range from grave robber to former Red Guard, migrant worker, political prisoner, and Buddhist abbot. One even recalls the lowly work of the title's traditional corpse walker, who returns to their homeland the bodies of those who died elsewhere. While their lives are often tragically sad, these individuals are often humorous in their reflections, and each has such a distinct voice that you are not likely to forget any of them soon. Highly recommended for larger libraries and for all libraries with Chinese collections.--Melissa Aho, Univ. of Minnesota Lib., Minneapolis (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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