Years of Red Dust: Book summary and reviews of Years of Red Dust by Qiu Xiaolong

Years of Red Dust

Stories of Shanghai

By Qiu Xiaolong

Years of Red Dust
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2010,
    240 pages.

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Book Summary

Published originally in the pages of Le Monde, this collection of linked short stories by Qiu Xiaolong has already been a major bestseller in France (Cite de la Poussiere Rouge) and Germany (Das Tor zur Roten Gasse), where it and the author was the subject of a major television documentary.

The stories in Years of Red Dust trace the changes in modern China over fifty years - from the early days of the Communist revolution in 1949 to the modernization movement of the late nineties - all from the perspective of one small street in Shanghai, Red Dust Lane. From the early optimism at the end of the Chinese Civil War, through the brutality and upheaval of the Cultural Revolution, to the death of Mao, the pro-democracy movement and the riots in Tiananmen Square - history, on both an epic and personal scale, unfolds through the bulletins posted and the lives lived in this one lane, this one corner of Shanghai.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Xiaolong's writing is transportive, and readers will feel as though they've traveled through China's history." - Publishers Weekly

"Although he depends too heavily on aphorisms and plot switchbacks, Qiu Xiaolong follows in the tradition of Naguib Mahfouz, writing about a changing world with both affection and a skeptic's sense of irony." - Kirkus

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Author Information

Qiu Xiaolong Author Biography

Qiu Xiaolong was born and raised in Shanghai. He managed to avoid the worst of Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution by falling ill with bronchitis at the age of 16, so he was able to stay in the city, while his peers left to be "re-educated" in the countryside.  One day while sitting on a bench in Shanghai's Bund he noticed some people studying an English book,  that was the start of an interest that grew into an academic specialty in modernist poetry.

He came to the US in 1988, at the age of about 30, on a Ford Foundation grant.  He chose to study at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, because of his enthusiasm for the poet T.S. Eliot, who was brought up in St Louis before emigrating to the UK at the age of 25. Following the Tiananmen ...

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Name Pronunciation
Qiu Xiaolong: chew-shao-long

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