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This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here There are three major periods of Beijing upheaval in this amazing novel, and Dai Wei survives them all first Chairman Mao s Cultural Revolution, then the crackdown at Tiananmen Square, and finally the beautification of Beijing for its Olympic bid, which brings his mother s housing complex to rubble around him Through all of this turmoil, Dai Wei is ever the observer, watching as the Cultural Revolution wreaks havoc on his parents marriage, as his friends orchestrate the protests at Tiananmen There are three major periods of Beijing upheaval in this amazing novel, and Dai Wei survives them all first Chairman Mao s Cultural Revolution, then the crackdown at Tiananmen Square, and finally the beautification of Beijing for its Olympic bid, which brings his mother s housing complex to rubble around him Through all of this turmoil, Dai Wei is ever the observer, watching as the Cultural Revolution wreaks havoc on his parents marriage, as his friends orchestrate the protests at Tiananmen Square, and as his mother struggles in vain to remain in her home He is, in this regard, an omniscient third person narrator, allowing us a snapshot of many characters lives as he witnesses the conversations, deaths, romantic encounters, and psychological struggles that defined these periods in recent Chinese history.We encounter characters who are of sound body and deadened mind, and vice versa No one, however, escapes with both body and mind intact Of particular interest is Dai Wei s mother, who devotes her entire life to caring for his comatose body His mind, however, is sharp as he travels the neural pathways of his own history and somatic systems Even with eyes closed and body immobilized, he can sense his mother s frustration and despair After she is arrested for her participation in a peaceful Falun Gong demonstration and her would be lover Master Yao is imprisoned, she returns as broken as Dai Wei s friends after Tiananmen She wishes her comatose son dead so that she can have some semblance of a life, but ultimately finds herself echoing the student demonstrators she once so vehemently opposed Down with Fascism The inclination to be free, Ma Jian insinuates, is innate, regardless of ideology and generation Few novels have driven home for me the horrors of the Cultural Revolution as vividly as this one, despite its focus on Tiananmen Square Ma slips in some harrowing, eye popping anecdotes about Red Guard brutality and inhumanity Of course, the main event in this book is the unjustifiable brutality against peaceful student demonstrators i loved Ma Jain before this novel but this one sorry to say i could not finish with all my knowledge of China, with my curiosity towards what happened in tian an man in june 1989 and i was there few days after i got lost Ma is a great writer, good critic of the wrongs in china but i found this novel to cumbersome. Ma Jian s epic masterpiece about the 1989 Tiananmen Square Protests will be present in your mind long after you put the book down if you can do so Dai Wei, a PhD student at Beijing University was struck by a bullet during the massacre that followed the student protests As he lies in bed immobile for years, he lives in his memories of the past He also silently observes everything around his big iron bed, trapped within his body His mother, apartment, friends, and body break down around him Ma Jian s epic masterpiece about the 1989 Tiananmen Square Protests will be present in your mind long after you put the book down if you can do so Dai Wei, a PhD student at Beijing University was struck by a bullet during the massacre that followed the student protests As he lies in bed immobile for years, he lives in his memories of the past He also silently observes everything around his big iron bed, trapped within his body His mother, apartment, friends, and body break down around him while his mind remains unable to move or change This is a metaphor for the natural incessant beauty of China that Dai Wei loves, which is unchanging amidst the country s political turmoil This book is a must read for anyone interested in Chinese culture Ma Jian s exquisite style takes you to the rain forests of Yunnan, the sweaty southern provinces, busy Beijing, and explains the beauty of Hong Kongese women You become embroiled in his circle of friends, and although there are MANY characters you feel as though they are your friends as well There are a few too many characters for my liking I believe that Jian tries to explain how vast the protests are, but by the end, you are a bit confused about all the minor characters All in all, I am a little too young to remember these protests first hand, and I am so glad that I learned about this era through this book The writing is beautiful and moving, while still being historically accurate China in my mind will forever be shaped by Ma Jian, and of course, Dai Wei A book told from the stundent s point of view of the tianenmen square massacre It s told retrospectively from a comatose students point of view and slips between his life and mind in the coma and his fatelful tale of those last few weeks before the massacre took place It gets a little boring in the middle i should say but is stunning in the last 200 pages Ma Jian has a interesting way of describing things in a very minimilistic way but in a way that enables you to picture the whole scene Wor A book told from the stundent s point of view of the tianenmen square massacre It s told retrospectively from a comatose students point of view and slips between his life and mind in the coma and his fatelful tale of those last few weeks before the massacre took place It gets a little boring in the middle i should say but is stunning in the last 200 pages Ma Jian has a interesting way of describing things in a very minimilistic way but in a way that enables you to picture the whole scene Worth a read truly, this will induce coma, in beijing or anywhere else i couldn t get throughthan 35 pages one problem among others there are no chapters or sections or breaks in the text at all only a single, 586 page stream of multi tensed consciousness this book requires a reader with an unheard of attention span also, a reader with some knowledge of the history of the cultural revolution which i do have, and still i was bored references to the democracy wall movement do little to inspire truly, this will induce coma, in beijing or anywhere else i couldn t get throughthan 35 pages one problem among others there are no chapters or sections or breaks in the text at all only a single, 586 page stream of multi tensed consciousness this book requires a reader with an unheard of attention span also, a reader with some knowledge of the history of the cultural revolution which i do have, and still i was bored references to the democracy wall movement do little to inspire excited moments of recognition when the dialogue reads like a history textbook note that i adore history textbooks A staggering book about the Tiananmen Square uprising in Beijing in 1989 The author begins through the story of our hero with the way these students grew up who gave birth to their desire to claim something different from what was given to their parents, continuing with the situation in the universities and ending in the uprising and its bloody repression, creates a complete chronicle of this process, describing in detail each stage, putting us in the heart of events, transporting us next t A staggering book about the Tiananmen Square uprising in Beijing in 1989 The author begins through the story of our hero with the way these students grew up who gave birth to their desire to claim something different from what was given to their parents, continuing with the situation in the universities and ending in the uprising and its bloody repression, creates a complete chronicle of this process, describing in detail each stage, putting us in the heart of events, transporting us next to the students who struggled and envisioned a different future for their country, while dreaming of their own personal happiness.What makes this book special, though, is that it doesn t just have that Along with the narration of the events of the uprising shows us the life of our hero after it, being in a coma after his serious head injury from a gunshot, he tries to reconstruct the past, while his mother is desperately trying to improve his condition This sad second narrative forms the basis on which the first is built and until the end the one follows the other and slowly the intensity that leads to the very strong finale is build, where the violence of repression is paralleled by the equally violent genesis of the new China of the next century In this way, the author manages to do two things at once, giving us, on the one hand, the history of the uprising with sensitivity and political insight and, on the other, a very strong allegorical commentary on modern China of enormous economic growth and non existent progress in human rights issues A really wonderful and very useful book 1989 , , From the first page on, life literally flashes by the protagonist He is told This is a clear sign that now on you re going to have to take life seriously Dai Wei, a Beijing University student, has been shot in the head in the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre The story proper begins as the narrator switches to Dai Wei, now in a coma We journey with Wei, from his birth, childhood and adulthood, to finality We see him falling for his childhood love Lulu, who later betrays him a Hongkongese A From the first page on, life literally flashes by the protagonist He is told This is a clear sign that now on you re going to have to take life seriously Dai Wei, a Beijing University student, has been shot in the head in the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre The story proper begins as the narrator switches to Dai Wei, now in a coma We journey with Wei, from his birth, childhood and adulthood, to finality We see him falling for his childhood love Lulu, who later betrays him a Hongkongese A Mei, who breaks his heart, is killed in Tiananmen Square and might have come back as a sparrow in his last days and then Tian Yi, who escaped death and to the US We read how he and his friends in Southern University in Guangzhou devour foreign literature, like Kafka s, and ideas, like Freud s We follow him to Beijing University where he studies biology, and which is where he gets involved in student protests for government reforms We experience his sensations while he lies in a coma, being cleaned and fed through a tube by a despairing mother, who even if she exhorts him to die soon still attempts to find him healers Interspersed within Wei s narrative is some rather clinical observation of his medical condition Life has never been easy for Wei, even at birth, when he fell out from his mother, into a cold concrete floor , his head splitting with pain This is like a foretelling of his fate, of being shot in the head.When he was a teenager, the police, interrogating him about a banned book he copied out and gave to Lulu, threatened him with boiling water from a flask They told him If we don t teach you a lesson now, you ll end up with a bullet in your head These words never took as he got shot later as an adult All that cannot compare to other horrors and turpitudes of a country s regime During the period of the one child policy, birth control officers carried out forced abortions at family planning clinics, throwing foetuses into buckets, strangling new babies One kind of horror which traumatizes Wei was experienced by his father in internment camp cannibalism His father might have been eaten himself if he wasn t moved out to Shandung A doctor he talks to in Wuxuan, researching such atrocities, also adds that local citizens proved their loyalty to the Party by executing friends and neighbours Wei learns that revolution in Chinese characters is written as elimination of life.Wei himself experiences cannibalization of a sort when his mother had to sell off one of his kidneys to fund his medical upkeep Wei gives us a blow by blow account of how the doctors remove his kidney without anaesthetics The descriptions wouldn t look amiss among cut and kill scenarios in American Psycho The reader can expect similar minute details throughout the entire novel, especially in the Tiananmen Square pages Wei likens the scenes in the Square to some movie set However the dialogue is not so much akin to a film as sometimes it can be a little stilted and formal But, surprisingly, this works here, because the reader could be watching a Chinese opera, particularly one set on an immense stage with stage directions and asides aplenty, with a preponderance of characters At best the writing can sometimes read like late 80 s New Journalism investigative articles you find in Rolling Stone and Esquire magazines However there are some moments of lyricism when, in love, Wei sees Tian Yi as a celestial fairy about to take flight That aside, one of the most poignant passages can be found in a visit from Tian Yi when she touches comatose Wei s foot, sending him into an almost erotic paroxysm Nearing the book s end, things are looking bleak for Wei and his mother, who refuses to sign the demolition agreement to her house and receive a pittance of a compensation She is slowly driven to insanity as she is persecuted for being a member of the Falun Gong her electricity, water and phone cut off Her neighborhood is being razed to the ground for a new shopping complex, whose chairman is none other than Lulu Their house is the only one standing, bulldozed and rammed, just like Wei s friends were by the Chinese army in Tiananmen Square Nearing the end, Wei is now finally starting to see light behind his eye lids, when before, his entire Weltanschauung while in a coma has been through his ears and nose.At the close of the book the reader encounters a d j vu Without disclosing the d nouement, suffice it to say, the reader may view this as Gestalt parallelism, yin yang, or karma no matter which, all very similar and universal Also, Wei is finally told But once you ve climbed out of this fleshy tomb, where is there left for you to go Where indeed If you believe in karma, when one does not have anywhere left to go, there is no cycles left to endure, one has reached the apex just like Wei finally seeing himself in a public square with just one building standing, atop in an iron bed Nirvana An absolutely towering masterpiece painful, haunting, compelling, and profound Original and never once dull over the course of 700 pages I wish I could write some words that would do a work like this justice, that would makepeople read it and experience it, but I finished the book about 10 minutes ago and my mind is still reeling Don t allow the length and the grim subject matter to frighten you away This is simply one of the best novels I ve ever read. Let me just say, this book was tough to finish I considered stopping a few times which I rarely do as I don t like leaving books unfinished First off, this book was in good need for editing It was a few hundred pages too long I appreciate the fact that Ma Jian wanted to give a detailed history of the events, but the details just got repetitive and the suspense he tried to build fell flat Most annoying were the constant power struggles between students Saddly those characters exist in the Let me just say, this book was tough to finish I considered stopping a few times which I rarely do as I don t like leaving books unfinished First off, this book was in good need for editing It was a few hundred pages too long I appreciate the fact that Ma Jian wanted to give a detailed history of the events, but the details just got repetitive and the suspense he tried to build fell flat Most annoying were the constant power struggles between students Saddly those characters exist in the real world and in real reformist movements Many of the characters were an interesting collection of student advocates, but the narrator who spent as much time complaining about lost loves as he did the brutalities he faced really annoyed me The only thing that kept me reading was the political honesty Certain passages really blew our mind The horrors faced were unimaginable Those essential truths about the evils of humanity made the tedious 75% of this book worth reading `Download Book ☟ Beijing Coma ⇲ Dai Wei has been unconscious for almost a decade A medical student and a pro democracy protestor in Tiananmen Square in June , he was struck by a soldier s bullet and fell into a deep coma As soon as the hospital authorities discovered that he had been an activist, his mother was forced to take him home She allowed pharmacists access to his body and sold his urine and his left kidney to fund special treatment from Master Yao, a member of the outlawed Falun Gong sect But during a government crackdown, the Master was arrested, and Dai Wai s mother who had fallen in love with him lost her mind As the millennium draws near, a sparrow flies through the window and lands on Dai Wei s naked chest, a sign that he must emerge from his coma But China has also undergone a massive transformation while Dai Wei lay unconscious As he prepares to take leave of his old metal bed, Dai Wei realizes that the rich, imaginative world afforded to him as a coma patient is a startling contrast with the death in life of the world outside At once a powerful allegory of a rising China, racked by contradictions, and a seminal examination of the Tiananmen Square protests, Beijing Coma is Ma Jian s masterpiece Spiked with dark wit, poetic beauty, and deep rage, this extraordinary novel confirms his place as one of the world s most significant living writers