Lenin's Kisses by Yan Lianke

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Yan wrote of an unpublished novel...that had been banned. He has advised writers to confront censorship with "art, not politics". This baggy but innovative novel, with its wit, humanity and satire, sets a provocative example.
-Guardian

Synopsis

A mystifying climatic incongruity begins the award-winning novel Lenin’s Kisses—an absurdist, tragicomic masterpiece set in modern day China. Nestled deep within the Balou mountains, spared from the government’s watchful eye, the harmonious people of Liven had enough food and leisure to be fully content. But when their crops and livelihood are obliterated by a seven-day snowstorm in the middle of a sweltering summer, a county official arrives with a lucrative scheme both to raise money for the district and boost his career. The majority of the 197 villagers are disabled, and he convinces them to start a traveling performance troupe highlighting such acts as One-Eye’s one-eyed needle threading. With the profits from this extraordinary show, he intends to buy Lenin’s embalmed corpse from Russia and install it in a grand mausoleum to attract tourism, in the ultimate marriage of capitalism and communism. However, the success of the Shuanghuai County Special-Skills Performance Troupe comes at a serious price.

Yan Lianke, one of China’s most distinguished writers—whose works often push the envelope of his country’s censorship system—delivers a humorous, daring, and riveting portrait of the trappings and consequences of greed and corruption at the heart of humanity.
 

About Yan Lianke

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YAN LIANKE was born in 1958 in Henan Province, China. He is the author of numerous novels and short-story collections, including Serve the People! and Dream of Ding Village, which was short-listed for the Man Asian Literary Prize and adapted into a film, renamed Til Death Do Us Part.
 
Published October 2, 2012 by Grove Press. 513 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Lenin's Kisses
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Isabel Hilton on Mar 08 2013

Yan wrote of an unpublished novel...that had been banned. He has advised writers to confront censorship with "art, not politics". This baggy but innovative novel, with its wit, humanity and satire, sets a provocative example.

Read Full Review of Lenin's Kisses | See more reviews from Guardian

Toronto Star

Above average
Reviewed by Michel Basilieres on Dec 20 2012

It takes all of the hundreds of pages to work up any sympathy for them, but even that’s not enough to for us to lament the outcome.

Read Full Review of Lenin's Kisses | See more reviews from Toronto Star

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82%

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