- THE DOROTHY HEWETT AWARD
"Socialism is Great!": A Worker's Memoir of the New China
Lijia Zhang is spirited, insightful and funny. She wants to be a journalist, wear Western clothes and indulge in romance. Instead she works in a factory producing missiles designed to reach North America; there are regulations on just about everything right down to monthly checks by the "period police" to confirm she is not pregnant.
In the oppressive routine of guarded factory compound and political meetings, Zhang is at the heart of an idealistic generation coming of age in 1980s China. Her sharp and witty chronicles of romance, English lessons, political activity, work and family tell a fascinating story filled with vibrant characters and entertaining situations while wryly observing the momentous period of change leading to Tiananmen in 1989.
Socialism is Great! is a testament to Zhang’s personal triumphs over the controlled existence that was supposed to be her destiny.
Praise for "Socialism is Great!":
A beautiful memoir of the important period when China began to recover from its political traumas and open to the outside world. Our current China literature is heavy with victim memoirs, but this is a true tale of aspiration: a young woman coming of age in a nation desperately trying to do the same.PETER HESSLER, CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORKER