Change : Book Review


Change, is a short story that narrates the social and political changes that have taken place in China from 1969 to 2009. Also Mo Yan writes about the changes in his life. It is an autobiography book which was originally written in Chinese by Yan, and later translated to English by Howard Goldblatt.

This book focuses on Yan and two other characters. He Zhiwu, who is Mo Yan’s classmate who was expelled only to become a famous entrepreneur. The other is Lu Wenli, the girl that He Zhiwu was smitten with. Yan gets expelled from school during 1969 and having left with no alternatives, he decides to join the Army. His unit has Russian trucks known as Gaz 51 which he hopes to drive, just like Lu Wenli’s father. In 1988, Mo Yan gets admitted into the Beijing Normal University graduate programme to pursue literature despite of not being able to clear fifth grade.

This book shows how the lives of the three main characters are totally contrasting from each others, and these symbolizes the changes that have swept throughout China in the last few decades. It is a memoir which enlightens the saga of Mo Yan’s life, while entwining the various developments that China has undergone during 1969 to 2009. Change concentrates on Chinese citizens and small events and this amalgamation of social and historical outlook helps readers get a profound understanding of this nation’s developments. There is a hint of political outlook but social and historical one dominates.

If you are a Mo Yan’s fan then it is a definite yes to read this besides this, it is a must read to other who like a short reading experience and also want to know more about the Chinese.

(c) Reviewed by Sridevi Nayak Karopady

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