The Fat Years: A Novel
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Banned in China, this controversial and politically charged novel tells the story of the search for an entire month erased from official Chinese history.
Beijing, sometime in the near future: a month has gone missing from official records. No one has any memory of it, and no one could care less—except for a small circle of friends, who will stop at nothing to get to the bottom of the sinister cheerfulness and amnesia that have possessed the Chinese nation. When they kidnap a high-ranking official and force him to reveal all, what they learn—not only about their leaders, but also about their own people—stuns them to the core. It is a message that will astound the world.
A kind of Brave New World reflecting the China of our times, The Fat Years is a complex novel of ideas that reveals all too chillingly the machinations of the postmodern totalitarian state, and sets in sharp relief the importance of remembering the past to protect the future.
I implemented the Group’s concept that politics is the art of distinguishing between the enemy and ourselves. I told him that from my sophomore year on, I’d organized my classmates to systematically refute reactionary discourse on the Internet, and to denounce reactionary Web sites to the authorities. After that, we moved on to simultaneously observing the virtual world and the real world. We would report to the university president and the Communist Party Secretary any professor in our
number of people, even if they are only an extremely small minority, who will choose the good hell no matter how painful it is, because in the good hell at least everyone is fully aware that they are living in hell.” I wasn’t sure what exactly I was trying to say, but the more I spoke, the more I felt I was making good sense. Little Xi listened attentively. On the mainland, if you mention Lu Xun, a writer some liken to Dickens or even Joyce, it will strike a chord with people of a certain age
form of dogmatic self-satisfaction—we alone know the truth—that made her feel somewhat uneasy. Although Gao Shengchan was very enthusiastic when he preached the gospel, in everyday life he seemed to carry a great load of care and a certain melancholy; he also had to cope with his lameness, and Little Xi felt it was very easy to communicate with him. She decided to get closer to him. Little Xi had no romantic notions, but Gao Shengchan certainly did and was even thinking that it was about time
Lao Chen said dejectedly, “he’ll have a headache and he’ll remember those six or seven seconds. Then he’ll definitely phone his secretary and activate the whole security system; they’ll check all the CCTV street-monitoring tapes, and probably call that fat traffic cop for corroboration. Then they’ll start investigating me … the result being that I’ll be scared shitless and give you all up. This time we’re definitely fucked.” They all went quiet again; they were probably each thinking about
Vietnam. The only conflict that truly threatened Chinese national security was the “Resist the United States, Assist North Korea” conflict of sixty years ago. There are fourteen nations with which China has land borders, and six with adjacent territorial waters. Since 1949 China has already settled fourteen land-border disputes and three offshore-island disputes, but there are still some disputes that cannot be settled in the immediate future. These include India’s refusal to recognize Chinese