This stunning work of historical fiction illustrates the harsh realities of modern China by the nation’s first winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.
The farmers of Paradise County have been leading a hardscrabble life unchanged for generations. The Communist government has encouraged them to plant garlic, but selling the crop is not as simple as they believed. Warehouses fill up, taxes skyrocket, and government officials mistreat even those who have traveled for days to sell their harvest. A surplus on the garlic market ensues, and the farmers must watch as their crops wither and rot in the fields.
All the while, families are destroyed by the random imprisonment of young and old for supposed crimes against the state. The prisoners languish in horrifying conditions in their cells, with only their strength of character and thoughts of loved ones to save them from madness. Meanwhile, a blind minstrel incites the masses to take the law into their own hands, and a riot escalates to savage and unforgettable consequences.
The Garlic Ballads is a powerful vision of life under the heel of an inflexible and uncaring government. Based on an uprising in rural China in 1987, this book is also a delicate story of love between man and woman, father and child, friend and friend—and the struggle to maintain that love despite overwhelming obstacles.