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The Fat Years by Chan Koonchung

The Fat Years (edition 2011)

by Chan Koonchung, Michael Duke (Translator)

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163773,133 (3.22)6
Title:The Fat Years
Authors:Chan Koonchung
Other authors:Michael Duke (Translator)
Info:Doubleday (2011), Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Read but unowned, Goodreads
Tags:fiction, read, politics, economics, China, LibrariesWest, #not-mzn, #not-wrd

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The Fat Years by Koon Chung Chan




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English (6)  Catalan (1)  All languages (7)
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
A political essay cloaked as a dystopia. Very reminiscent of the Goldstein book of 1984. Very eerie and prescient examination of the power and possible ends of the shadowy CCP. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
A novel set in near-future Beijing follows the widespread disappearance of a month from official records and human memory that is disregarded by everyone except a small circle of friends who kidnap a high-ranking official to expose the truth. Summary BPL

“Between a good hell and a fake paradise-which one would you choose?”

Started out reading this one then moving to the audiobook. I couldn’t keep the names straight and it was a huge help to hear them pronounced properly.

The Fat Years is a lightly fictionalized commentary on China’s current collective amnesia about its past, particularly Tiananmen Square in 1989. The author says that the Chinese people would rather enjoy their Starbucks and shopping malls (the fake paradise) than question the regime that does not permit mention of government leaders, that controls internet parameters (even Google gave in!), what citizens read and watch, that spies on and harrasses its own people…. It has been compared to 1984 and Brave New World.

I listened to the audiobook twice—that was long!—as I found it difficult to follow the different points of view, and what I was to infer from them. This book will appeal to readers who are interested in the political scene in China and China’s role in the global economy or those, like myself, who want to get caught up on it.

7 out of 10. Serious readers only. ( )
  julie10reads | Apr 7, 2012 |
This is the story of people caught up in China's respressive regime. They know something is wrong -- but what? Most people seem happy and content, yet a few remember events that everyone else have forgotten. What's going on?

As a small group of friends and acquaintances try to sort this out, we get a picture of life in China today -- at least, that's the premise. I found the story mildly interesting, but the offered explanation lacks any credibility. The last third of the book takes the form of a government leader explaining it all to our group of heroes. It gets a bit tedious; it would have been much more exciting for the group to uncover the mystery for themselves. An o.k. read. Not sure it really is banned in China, and if so, it may be more an example of critical thinking than censorship. ( )
  LynnB | Mar 28, 2012 |
Very interesting read to understand the beast China. The fact that the book was forbidden in China proofs the authors point. ( )
  hste2011 | Feb 2, 2012 |
...I suppose I can see why the Chinese government would not be thrilled with the publication of The Fat Years. I think the answer to the riddle of the missing month is so over the top however, that nobody would take it too seriously, including the censors in China. It does offer the western readers a glimpse of life in urban China that we don't often get to see. It shows a level criticism of the government, discussions on various historical events that are usually taboo and a number of frank comments of sexuality that from an author living in Beijing rarely encountered by the western reader. It probably lacks something of the excitement of reading a banned book that it would have for someone living in mainland China but it is well worth reading nonetheless. As long as the reader has a little patience with the writing style, that is.

Full Random Comments review ( )
  Valashain | Oct 15, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Koon Chung Chanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Duke, Michael S.Translatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hansen, Poul BratbjergTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lovell, Juliasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Menheere, YvesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Zhongguancun, China's Silicon Valley in northwest Beijing, is a fine place to visit these days. (Preface)
One whole month is missing.
The Fat Years is a unique combination of a mystery novel with a realistic exposé of the political, economic, and social system of China as it is today, and will be for the foreseeable future. (Translator's Note)
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In near-future Beijing, a month is missing from all official records, mass amnesia has wiped it from collective memory, and people are possessed with an unnatural cheerfulness. A small group of friends will stop at nothing to get to the bottom of the mystery.… (more)

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