Surviving Under Mao: A Slacker’s Guide – William Grimes

The New York Times reviews a new memoir by Kang Zhengguo, currently a professor at Yale:

07.06.13.Grimes.190Dreamy, lazy, romantic, stubborn and impulsive, Mr. Kang spelled trouble from the start. He was not a dissident in the normal sense, but a determined individualist and a goof-off, seemingly intent on working against his own best interests, which is what makes “Memoirs” such a mesmerizing read.

In the United States Mr. Kang might have been a beatnik, a slacker or a nerd. In China his lofty contempt for political orthodoxy and his inability to adapt put him on a collision course with the authorities, and set him on the wobbly life path recorded so evocatively in “Confessions.” [Full text]

Read also Sam Crane’s thoughts on how Kang may or may not be a Taoist.


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