A vision of China

Tao portrays China as a land of government brutality and individual suffering, run by powerful bureaucrats and frustrated soldiers. The lovers’ escape route twists and turns from the subtropical beaches of Hainan Island to the Himalayas (“intense sunlight, thin air, snow-clad mountains that pierce the deep cerulean sky, cobalt lakes nestled in the sere wilderness, clusters of black yaks”). The book brings the reader new insights into Han racism, sky burials and the wholesale eradication of Tibetan rights and culture since the Cultural Revolution. In fascinating detail it relates the life story of Yong, the maverick child born into the Great Famine of the 1960s whose family sold their only pig to pay for the rail fare to send him to university (Yong is now a successful hyperrealist painter in California).


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