20 Fragments Of A Ravenous Youth, 2012
This was taken on Beckenham High Street, UK.
20 Fragments Of A Ravenous Youth is a novel by Xiaolu Guo. It was published in 2008. In the original Chinese version, the book contained no punctuation and no divisions between sections.
On the back cover it says this (and I have no reason to disbelieve, because I haven’t read the book. Nikki says it’s great.): “Life as a film extra in Beijing might seem hard, but Fenfang won’t be defeated. She has travelled 1800 miles to seek her fortune in the city, and has no desire to return to the never-ending sweet potato fields back home. Determined to live a modern life, Fenfang works as a cleaner in the Young Pioneer’s movie theatre, falls in love with unsuitable men and keeps her kitchen cupboard stocked with UFO noodles. As Fenfang might say, ‘Heavenly Bastard in the Sky, isn’t it about time I got my lucky break?’
There’s a really interesting entry about Xiaolu Guo on Wikipedia. To summarise, she’s had nine books published since 1999, been the director or producer on nine films (including How Is Your Fish Today? and Concrete Revolution) since 2003, and written two screenplays. I’m going to start reading her books.
Here’s the first paragraph and a bit:
My youth began when I was 21. At least, that’s when I decided it began. That was when I started to think that all those shiny things in life – some of them might possibly be for me.
If you think 21 sounds a bit late for youth to start, just think about the average dumb Chinese peasant, who leaps straight from childhood to middle age with nothing in between. If I was going to miss anything out, it was middle age. Be young or die. That was my plan.
In our house, this book can be found: dining room, left-hand bookshelves, fourth shelf down.
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