Serve the People!: A Novel

Serve the People!: A Novel

Language: English

Pages: 217

ISBN: 0802170447

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Set in 1967, at the peak of the Mao cult, Serve the People! is a beautifully told, wickedly daring story about the forbidden love affair between Liu Lian, the young, pretty wife of a powerful Division Commander in Communist China, and her household’s lowly servant, Wu Dawang. When Liu Lian establishes a rule for her orderly that he is to attend to her needs whenever the household’s wooden Serve the People! sign is removed from its usual place, the orderly vows to obey. What follows is a remarkable love story and a profound and deliciously comic satire on Mao’s famous slogan and the political and sexual taboos of his regime. As life is breathed into the illicit sexual affair, Yan Lianke brilliantly captures how the Model Soldier Wu Dawang becomes an eager collaborator with the restless and demanding Liu Lian, their actions inspired by primitive passions that they are only just discovering. Originally banned in China, and the first work from Yan Lianke to be translated into English, Serve the People! brings us the debut of one of the most important authors writing from inside China today.

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next phase of our story, was set to switch from the passive to the active, as he strove to master the situation he found himself in; to appoint himself the chief protagonist of the narrative, the great helmsman steering the course of this particular love affair. But this was no high-flown struggle for clear moral victory-just one individual finding the courage to challenge his destiny. For the record, he did not consider that matters were beyond repair. All that had happened was that Liu Lian

Though his eyes were still blurry with sleep, the Captain's mind was clearly operational. 'Off to work then?' he asked, stopping right in Wu Dawang's path. Wu Dawang mumbled an affirmative as he saluted and bid his Captain good morning. After returning the salute, the Captain turned to carry on his way, then stopped, as if he had suddenly thought of something. 'Wu Dawang,' he asked, 'what must you remember, above all else, when working for a senior officer?' 'Don't say what I shouldn't say,

Division hospital.' 'No, there's no need for that. Just carry me to the bed and go on kissing me, touching me whereveryou want. Forget I'm the Division Commander's wifefor the time being I'm your wife and you can have free run of me.' He lifted her weak, limp form onto the bed, as one would put a baby down to sleep, then began kissing her with a crazed intensity, every tiny part of her, from her hair, forehead and nose downward -now delicately, like a dragonfly skimming the surface of a lake,

itself advanced in lopsided paces now slow, now fast, now inching, now striding-her imprisoned face was sometimes impassive, sometimes animated. She had to be in there. He'd never known her to call at other houses in the compound, at the homes of the Political Commissar or Deputy Division Commander, or pass the time with their wives. She hardly ever spoke to them, just as the Division Commander hardly ever wasted idle words on his subordinates. This bedroom was the nucleus of her existence, the

liberation of the people and working entirely in the interests of the people. Comrade Zhang Side served in the ranks of these battalions. All men must die one day, but not all deaths have the same significance. The ancient Chinese writer Sima Oian said, 'Though it is certain all men must die, some deaths carry more weight than Mount Tai, while others carry less weight than a feather.' To die for the cause of the people carries more weight than Mount Tai, but to waste one's energy in the service

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