Sam Sacks

Sam Sacks writes the Fiction Chronicle for the Wall Street Journal.

The decline and fall of the Heian nobility, which is chronicled in The Tale of the Heike, provoked much lamentation among the poets of Japan. At the start of the 13th century, the court poet Kamo no Chomei was passed over for a prestigious post and left the imperial capital of Heian-kyo (present-day Kyoto). He took the tonsure, and lived henceforth as a grouchy hermit in a hut. There he...

Keep squeezing: Ma Jian

Sam Sacks, 26 September 2013

Ma Jian’s new novel, The Dark Road, also serves as an indictment of the Chinese government and the crimes it has committed in the name of modernisation. Its principal target is the one-child policy, imposed in 1978 and still officially in effect, which has led to mass campaigns of forced sterilisation and abortion, as well as infanticide and child trafficking. But Ma also widens his...

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