In an authoritarian state, is all art necessarily political? And if so, what is the artist’s responsibility? How far should he or she push? How does an individual operate in a society that values collectivism above all? And is this intersection of art and politics worth the turmoil, chaos, and pain that it causes to those you love? These are the questions at the heart of Xiaolu Guo’s new novel, I Am China.
Kublai Jian — half-Mongol and half Han Chinese — is an underground punk rocker in Beijing, just after the events in Tiananmen Square. He notices poet Deng Mu first at a volleyball game, then at one of his concerts, with her “big black button eyes … the brightest eyes in that field of eyes.” From there, the book follows Jian and Mu’s tortured relationship across both decades and continents. […] [Source]
Also see an excerpt of the new book posted by Asia Society, or earlier reviews by Isabel Hilton at The Guardian, and David Evans at Financial Times. Award-winning author and filmmaker Xiaolu Guo has lived in Britain since 2002. Guo recently published an article in Aeon Magazine on being an artist among increasing wealth and political apathy in China.