Red Dust

by Ma Jian | Science Fiction & Fantasy |
ISBN: 0099490846 Global Overview for this book
Registered by grizzled of Stockholm, Södermanland Sweden on 10/9/2006
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4 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by grizzled from Stockholm, Södermanland Sweden on Monday, October 09, 2006
In 1983, Ma Jian turned 30 and was overwhelmed by the desire to escape the confines of his life in Beijing. All around him, China was changing. Deng Xiaoping was introducing economic reform but clamping down on 'Spiritual Pollution'; and young people were rebelling. With his long hair, denim jeans and artistic friends, Ma Jian was under surveillance from his work unit and the police. His ex-wife was seeking custody of their daughter; his girlfriend was sleeping with another man; and he could no longer find the inspiration to write or paint. One day he bought a train ticket to the westernmost border of China and set off in search of himself. Ma Jian's journey would last three years and take him to deserts and overpopulated cities, from scenes of barbarity to havens of tranquillity and beauty.

Journal Entry 2 by grizzled from Stockholm, Södermanland Sweden on Wednesday, October 11, 2006
"... I watch her figure disappear into the crowd. She looks like any other pretty girl on the street. You would never guess she has a child in nursery, a husband in prison, a married boyfriend, a girlfriend, a Canadian lover and an opium addiction. ..."

Journal Entry 3 by grizzled from Stockholm, Södermanland Sweden on Friday, October 13, 2006
"... This is my second month in Yunnan. Six weeks ago, I gave a lecture on modern poetry at Kumming University which attracted a small audience. The next day the students told me their university's propaganda department had issued a warrant for my arrest. The alleged crime was 'disseminating liberal propaganda to impressionable youths'. I ran away to the border region of Xishuangbana, but on my second day in the capital, Jinhong, the poet was hosting me said the local writer's association had received notice that an officer had been sent to Beijing to investigate my case, and that pending the results, they should have nothing to do with me. He gave me a nervous glance and said, 'Please, if they catch you, tell them we've never met.' I left town and headed into the mountains, and have been racing through the borderlands since then like a hunted animal. ..."

Journal Entry 4 by grizzled from Stockholm, Södermanland Sweden on Sunday, October 15, 2006
One of the best travel books I've ever read. Insightful and written in a very direct, stark manner.

Journal Entry 5 by grizzled at OBCZ Espresso House Stockholm in Stockholm, Stockholm Sweden on Monday, August 23, 2010

Released 9 yrs ago (8/23/2010 UTC) at OBCZ Espresso House Stockholm in Stockholm, Stockholm Sweden


Book trade shelf.

Journal Entry 6 by wingVictoriaWagtailwing at Stockholm, Stockholm Sweden on Wednesday, September 22, 2010
I just found this book (and many other ones :D) at Espressohouse at Vasagatan, Stockholm. It seemes to be VERY interesting, I'm glad I found it and I'm going to read it as soon as possible!

Journal Entry 7 by wingVictoriaWagtailwing at Bagarmossen, Stockholm Sweden on Saturday, September 21, 2019
As happens so often with the books I want to read the most this book has been waiting to be read fo far too long. But now, finally, I've read it, and I wasn't dissapointed. This is a great book.

This is a dark account of the author's travels through China in the 1980's. The cruel dictatorship and corruption of communist China as well as the poverty and the filth that many of the people he meets on his journey live in are depicted in detail. Above all I think the author manages to capture what it could mean to the people living under these sometimes brutal conditions, what it does to them, how it can break people. Ma Jian him self leaves Beijing in search of something, a meaning, a home. He too is somehow broken by the system he lives under. It turns into a three year long journey and the account of this journey is also a story about travelling. Why do we travel, and what does travelling do to us. Are we escaping something, do we find our selves along the track, or do we loose our way?

This is a great book for any one interested in reading about China, about Buddhist philosophy and/or travelling.

Journal Entry 8 by wingVictoriaWagtailwing at Bagarmossen, Stockholm Sweden on Monday, December 16, 2019

Released 5 mos ago (12/16/2019 UTC) at Bagarmossen, Stockholm Sweden


Finally this book gets to travel again, it deserves many more readers.


Journal Entry 9 by wingpenelopewanderswing at Hasliberg, Bern / Berne Switzerland on Wednesday, December 25, 2019
This has arrived safely in the Swiss Alps It came in on Christmas eve with a lovely card, season's greetings and chocolates (and another ring). I'm busy with an annual ten day meeting which starts this week, and then the school term kicks in - so not sure how much leisure time I'll have for reading for myself. I'll try to get to this sooner rather than later though, although it's not clear to me where it heads next? It almost looks like there is no one after me - if that's so, I might put more urgent reading first? Please let me know if I'm mistaken, and thanks so much for the lovely parcel.

Journal Entry 10 by wingpenelopewanderswing at Hasliberg, Bern / Berne Switzerland on Saturday, March 07, 2020
I thought this was here at the end of a bookcrossing ray, so I put it on the TBR shelf and forgot about it. It seems there is someone after me now, so I picked it up and am glad I did.
In some ways it reminds me of a book I read recently ( "How we survived communism and even laughed" by Slavenka Drakulic) but as that was mainly about Yugoslavia, it was far less alien to me than this. I can't really say "I had no idea", because of course in the West we heard things, but this journey through China by a photographer/artist/journalist was quite the eye-opener for me. On one level it was amazing to read about the terrific diversity in landscape, climate and culture. The book about Yugoslavia was written by a woman and this story would be unthinkable for a woman to have experienced, as the gender divide, at least at the time this was written remains a chasm in China. Thought provoking and somewhat chilling.

Journal Entry 11 by wingpenelopewanderswing at Meiringen, Bern / Berne Switzerland on Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Released 1 mo ago (4/7/2020 UTC) at Meiringen, Bern / Berne Switzerland


For some reason I hadn't realized this was actually headed next to Zurich. I try to post books abroad from France as at least until recently they have had a very good international book rate, so as we normally go quite frequently, I save books to send from there. I had initially not realized I was not the end of the ray for this book, so I hadn't read it. Then, once I had, we were extremely limited in our travel due to the pandemic. As both my husband and I are in the "at risk" group, and our local post office closed a year ago, our possibilities of going to a town with a post office are very limited. As he was going to the doctor in a town with a post office this morning, I began preparing books to send, and was embarrassed to realize this one never should have been waiting for a trip to France! So my apologies for keeping it so long. Now it has been posted and should arrive at its destination in a day or so. Another ring I wanted to mail this morning will have to wait longer because apparently currently the Swiss post can't send parcels to Belarus, for example! Sorry to be so chatty, but these are extraordinary times indeed. I hope you enjoy the book - thanks to its long stay others in my household appreciated reading it too. Thanks for making it available, VictoriaWagtail. I hope everyone is well and healthy!

Journal Entry 12 by wingMankyiwing at Zürich, Zürich Switzerland on Thursday, April 09, 2020
Thank you very much for sending this book to me! As I said in the PM, I also quite a considerable TBR pile, so no worries at all about sending the book later. It will probably take me some time to get to it unless someone else unexpectedly appears in the ray the way I did!:) Stay healthy y'all, and let's hope the lockdown is over soon!

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