In this “epic black comedy” benevolent landowner Ximen Nao is less than pleased to find himself in the underworld after being killed in Chairman Mao’s land reform movement. And even though he’s unwilling to admit to any wrongdoing, he is soon punished by being send back to the mortal realm . . . as a donkey, an ox, a pig, a dog, a monkey, and so on (Kirkus Reviews).
But in each of his reincarnations, Nao experiences another defining event in China’s maddening national transformation under the heavy hand of Communism—such as the Chinese Famine, the ever-changing Cultural Revolution, and the devastating failure of the Great Leap Forward. And in each new life, he finds both the humanity and the insanity of his burgeoning homeland.
With this “exhuberantly imaginative” China’s most revered, renowned, and feared literary artist proves once again that the only true freedom is the freedom of the heart and mind (Washington Post).