CRIPPLE MAH AND THE NEW ORDER by C. Y. Lee

CRIPPLE MAH AND THE NEW ORDER

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

This is a rather homespun comic-satire on everyday life in Red China (as against his first two novels which had a San Francisco Chinatown setting). Cripple Mah, the Innocent, abused ""hero"", is a crippled, poor city boy, anxious to adopt any slogan in order to survive, and his wide-eyed humility sets the book's whole tone. Manoeuvered into marriage by a pregnant, progressive Party Member, Cripple Mah is left to bring up a son, Liberation Mah, alone. His struggles to achieve happiness in a political system where sex and family are treated with devastating ""realism"" are paralleled by the struggles of Professor Chang (whom Cripple Mah presently meets) to preserve independent thought, in a country given to brain washing. Cripple Mah, in love with one woman, becomes married to a thin scold, is put in jail for bigamy, worries over ""his"" son, and helps another family escape. The Professor, also caught by the system, is set to rewriting the Bible. The Professor's final comment to Cripple Mah, whose persistent ordinary problems are brought again to his attention. Is that emotional problems will always rise above systems.... This burlesque of a bumbler through reads oddly in this Chinese idiom, and against a grimly real background. Criticism and humor are so blandly and innocently mixed that the Western reader may confuse the real attitudes with the author's anger.

Pub Date: Aug. 18th, 1961
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Cudahy