Serve the People!

March 21, 2008 at 04:00 AM EDT

This searing satire of Communist China, circa 1967, has been banned there for supposed slander of Mao and the army, not to mention its sex content! While the political sentiments are unlikely to shock a Westerner, the love story at the center — about a servant who hooks up with the wife of his high-ranking boss — is a universal depiction of passion’s irrationality and pain. ”Perhaps, in very particular circumstances,” Yan Lianke writes, ”emotional truth can shine only through the curtain of farce” — something Serve the People! achieves with deft humor and great elegance. B+

Serve the People!

Yan Lianke
Grove Press
Complete Coverage
Serve the People!

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