When I moved back to Australia three weeks ago (!!), the first book I picked up was my copy of The Fat Years (《盛世：中国，2013年》), which I'd left languishing on my bestie's bookshelf. I bought it when it first was translated into English, and then promptly moved to China. As it is a banned book (proclaimed in large print on the cover!), I left the book behind in Australia.
Part satire, part dystopian imaging, part road trip, part political thriller, The Fat Years seeks to establish reasons for erasure, and reasons for acceptance, and whilst it explores these issues it never places the blame in any one area, and never really comes to any conclusion. The government does things; the people do things; the government accepts some actions; the people accept some actions. The structure of the novel means there is a direct opportunity for the government to defend its actions, and defend it it does, in a way that makes such cold (but boring) sense in a Chinese context. It also includes warnings about the path China is taking, at the same time as providing support. It’s a clear indictment of the government system, at the same time as accepting what was done as needful.
Read the full review at my China blog!