Beijing Coma by Ma Jian
A Novel

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 2 Critic Reviews



Dai Wei has been unconscious for almost a decade. A medical student and a pro-democracy protestor in Tiananmen Square in June 1989, 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.


About Ma Jian

See more books from this Author
MA JIAN was born in Qingdao, China, in 1953. He worked as a watch-mender's apprentice, a painter of propaganda boards, and a photojournalist. In 1987 he wrote Stick Out Your Tongue, a collection of short stories that prompted the Chinese government to ban his future work. Ma Jian left Beijing for Hong Kong in 1987 as a dissident, but he continued to travel to China and supported the pro-democracy activists in Tiananmen Square in 1989. After the handover of Hong Kong, he moved to Germany and then London, where he now lives with his partner and translator, FLORA DREW. He is the author of Red Dust, a travel memoir, and the critically acclaimed novels The Noodle Maker and Beijing Coma.
Published May 27, 2008 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 594 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Beijing Coma

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

The outcome of this bleak, wrenching generational saga from Ma Jian (Stick Out Your Tongue and The Noodle Maker ) is known fro

Apr 21 2008 | Read Full Review of Beijing Coma: A Novel

Shot in the Tiananmen Square uprising, Dai Wei lies paraly

Apr 01 2013 | Read Full Review of Beijing Coma: A Novel

Reader Rating for Beijing Coma

An aggregated and normalized score based on 19 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review