Chinese literature published in the United States has tended to focus on politics — think the Cultural Revolution and dissidents — but there’s a whole other world of writing out there. It’s punk, dealing with the harsh realities lived by the millions of city-dwellers struggling to get by in the grey economy. Dunhuahg, recently out of prison for selling fake IDs, has just enough money for a couple of meals. He also has no place to stay and no prospects for earning more yuan. When he happens to meet a pretty woman selling pirated DVDs, he falls into both an unexpected romance and a new business venture. But when her on-and-off boyfriend steps back into the picture, Dunhuahg is forced to make some tough decisions. “Running Through Beijing” explores an underworld of constant thievery, hardcore porn, cops (both real and impostors), prison bribery, rampant drinking, and the smothering, bone-dry dust storms that blanket one of the world’s largest cities. Like a literary “Run Lola Run, ” it follows a hustling hero rushing at breakneck speed to stay just one step ahead. Full of well-drawn, authentic characters, “Running Through Beijing” is a masterful performance from a fresh Chinese voice.
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