From the PEN/Malamud Award-winning author of Lucky Girls comes an intricately woven novel about secrets, love, art, identity, and the shining chaos of every day American life.
Yuan Zhao, a celebrated Chinese performance artist and political dissident, has accepted a one-year artist's residency in Los Angeles. He is to be a Visiting Scholar at the St. Anselm's School for Girls, teaching advanced art, and hosted by one of the school's most devoted families: the wealthy if dysfunctional Traverses. The Traverses are too preoccupied with their own problems to pay their foreign guest too much attention, and the dissident is delighted to be left alone—his past links with radical movements give him good reason to avoid careful scrutiny. The trouble starts when he and his American hosts begin to view one another with clearer eyes.
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The complex interrelations of these variously beautiful, privileged people form a fascinating counterpoint to the moving story of Yuan Zhao’s embattled apprenticeship and largely wasted life (for, despite the respect of people who believe his existence more meaningful than their own, he struggles...| Read Full Review of The Dissident: A Novel
The collision of cultures is a venerable theme in fiction without it there would be no Passage to India, no Lolita, almost no Henry James but the drama of such stories always depends on certain important commonalities, on the discovery of shared impulses and modes of behavior that seem to...Sep 10 2006 | Read Full Review of The Dissident: A Novel
The Dissident by Nell Freudenberger Picador £14.99, pp432 Rong Rong's 1994 photo 'East Village, Beijing, No 34' depicts artist Zhang Huan hanging by chains from the ceiling of his studio while blood drips from his neck on to a hot plate, producing an awful hiss and stench.Apr 29 2007 | Read Full Review of The Dissident: A Novel
The Dissident by Nell Freudenberger 427pp, Picador, £14.99 In the early 1990s the Chinese performance artist Zang Huan slathered himself with fish sauce and sat in a Beijing public toilet in broiling heat.Mar 17 2007 | Read Full Review of The Dissident: A Novel
Originally posted Aug 11, 2006 Published in issue #891-892 Aug 18, 2006 Order article reprintsAug 11 2006 | Read Full Review of The Dissident: A Novel
In The Dissident, Nell Freudenberger traverses two worlds separated by a long distance, and not just geographically.Drawing, presumably, on her experience teaching English and volunteering for human rights groups in Asia, the 31-year-old author of the acclaimed story collection Lucky Girls presen...| Read Full Review of The Dissident: A Novel
His cousin, an artist who introduced him to the East Village, is encouraging: ‘An artist is an artist, no matter what he’s doing,’ he tells Yuan.| Read Full Review of The Dissident: A Novel
Five years ago, the Harvard grad was a New Yorker editorial assistant, until former fiction editor Bill Buford ran her story Lucky Girls, the one story that I thought was worth showing to anyone in my life, in the Summer Fiction issue, alongside a glamour shot of Freudenberger lounging on red...Aug 27 2006 | Read Full Review of The Dissident: A Novel
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