Yoyo recommended i read a book by Yu Hua. i looked for it in Canada, but could only find his new nonfiction release, China in Ten Words. Which was pretty awesome. Super readable, and it did indeed inform my understanding of the country i live in, tying pretty much everything happening today to the cultural revolution in some way.
But that also inspired me to pick up his book To Live. Plus i wanted to read it before seeing the movie, which is also apparently great, directed by Zhang Yimou. The book was great: the kind of book that makes storytelling seem unnaturally easy. I was warned it would be a tear-jerker, and yes i was crying on the subway yesterday as i paged towards the end. But in a good way.
Ok, i admit i couldn't get onside w/ the protagonist, Fugui, for the beginning, considering that he was a real ass at the start, but we came around, didn't we?
Yu is skilled at telling stories without blasting you with opinion. Yes, there was horrible shit happening during the great leap forward, during the cultural revolution, but he doesn't harp on anyone about it: just continues on about the family living through it.
Anyhow, it's good. i haven't seen the flick yet, but you might check it out if you don't have time for the book.