THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF DESIRE by Annie Wang

THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF DESIRE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Dishing dirt: It's a way of life for fashion-forward city girls in modern China.

Niuniu and her girlfriends spend their free time (swapping Starbucks for martinis as the day goes on) discussing love in all its forms—carnal, emotional, filial. Their main concern, as young 20-somethings, is how Chinese women can take a stand in their newly powerful country, where the wealthy rule and Western ideals are the gold standard. Niuniu struggles with feelings of cultural displacement that leave her with one foot in Beijing and the other in America. She was born in the United States to Chinese immigrants; she and her family returned to China when she was seven years old. After college in California, she headed East again to Beijing, where she became a journalist. In this series of vignettes, Niuniu encourages her girlfriends to talk, talk, talk about their loves lives and what it means to be a contemporary Chinese woman. Their world is rife with adultery, betrayal, secrets and hidden identities. Niuniu comes across plenty of colorful characters on her journey. One woman equates perfect English with male potency. Another married her American husband's grandson. A third has had three abortions because she believes love is painful. A fourth is a serial Internet dater. As Niuniu turns over each story in her mind, her thoughts return again and again to her own lost love, Len. China, she soon discovers, is a small world indeed.

Despite occasional passages of stilted dialogue, this is a charming collection of modern fables that offer an intriguing glimpse into a world where modernity has arrived with a bang.

Pub Date: April 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-06-078277-3
Page count: 464pp
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2006