A satirical novel set in 1967 China from the Franz Kafka Prize-winning author of Lenin’s Kiss—“one of China’s greatest living authors” (The Guardian).
Serve the People! is the story of a forbidden love affair between Liu Lian, the young wife of a Division Commander in Communist China, and a servant in her household, Wu Dawang. Left to idle at home while her husband furthers the revolution, Liu Lian establishes a rule for her orderly: whenever the household’s wooden Serve the People! sign is removed from its usual place on the dinner table and placed elsewhere, Wu Dawang is to stop what he is doing and attend to her needs upstairs. What follows is a “steamy and subversive” story and comic satire on Mao’s slogan and the political and sexual taboos of his regime (The Guardian).
Originally banned in China, Serve the People! is the first work from Yan Lianke to be translated into English, and “a scathing sendup of life in 1960s China during the chaos of the country’s Cultural Revolution” (LA Times).
Grove Atlantic; March 2008
- ISBN: 9781555848880
- Read online, or download in secure ePub format
- Title: Serve the People!
- Author: Yan Lianke
Imprint: Black Cat
In The Press
“Yan’s satire brilliantly exposes the emptiness of Maoist ideals and the fraudulent ends for which they were used, but also relates a sorrowful tale of compromised relationships and modest hopes left unfulfilled.” —Publishers Weekly
“A scathing sendup of life in 1960s China during the chaos of the country’s Cultural Revolution. . . . a wonderfully biting satire, brimming with absurdity, humor and wit.” —LA Times
“This passionate satire of clandestine, intimate privilege in an ostensibly classless, egalitarian society is exceedingly carefully written, so that it is at once funny, sad, and bitterly ironic on nearly every page. Oh, and sensual, too.” —Booklist
“Yan’s work certainly contains its share of double entendres and may even be perceived as comedic at times, but on a deeper level, it offers a sociopolitical commentary on a way of life generally unfamiliar to Westerners.” —Library Journal