Magazine article New Internationalist

I Am China

Magazine article New Internationalist

I Am China

Article excerpt

I Am China by Xiaolu Guo (Chatto & Windus, ISBN 9780701188207)

In 2013, Xiaolu Guo was named as one of Granta Magazine's Best of Young British Novelists and, on the evidence of this striking novel, the judges made a wise choice. The book concerns Jian, a Chinese musician shuttled between British detention centres and psychiatric units as he attempts to claim asylum; and Mu, his girlfriend in Beijing, desperately trying to make contact with him. Their story is told by Iona Kirkpatrick, a London-based translator who has been contracted by an independent publisher to translate a dossier of their letters and diaries, as part of a project for a book.

As she pieces together the story of Jian and Mu from their fragmented correspondence spanning several decades, Iona becomes increasingly fascinated with the trajectories of their lives: his from anti-establishment rock star to penniless exile, hers from shy student and doting daughter to punk poet. …

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