The Noodle Maker
Author: Ma Jian; Translated by Flora Drew
From Mi Jian, the highly acclaimed Chinese dissident, comes a satirical novel about the absurdities of life in a post-Tiananmen China.
Two men meet for dinner each week. Over the course of one of these drunken evenings, the writer recounts the stories he would write, had he the courage: a young man buys an old kiln and opens a private crematorium, delighting in his ability to harass the corpses of police officers and Party secretaries, while swooning to banned Western music; a heartbroken actress performs a public suicide by stepping into the jaws of a wild tiger, watched nonchalantly by her ex-lover. Extraordinary characters inspire him, their lives pulled and pummeled by fate and politics, as if they are balls of dough in the hands of an all-powerful noodle maker.
Ma Jian's satirical masterpiece allows us a humorous, yet profound, glimpse of those struggling to survive under a system that dictates their every move.
In The News
“One of the most important and courageous voices in Chinese literature.” —Gao Xingjian, winner of the 2000 Nobel Prize for Literature
“A superb comedian . . . this antic nihilist is hard to beat.” —Los Angeles Times
“Milan Kundera with a laugh track . . . One writer especially unafraid to flip off the Old Guard [and] still too punk to be found on Chinese bookshelves, even today.” —Nerve.com
“Brave New World territory, where national euphemisms attempt to obscure the nation's true horrors . . . Richly drawn characters . . . The Noodle Maker is a remarkable achievement.” —Time Out New York