Between the years 1993 and 2006, Liao Yiwu conducted a series of interviews in China, collecting oral histories that present a view of people from the lowest rungs of Chinese society. The Corpse Walker is the amalgamation of those interviews, often done at great peril to the Liao, because the Chinese government does not want people to know that the “new ” China is often not an improvement for some of it’s citizens.
I’ve read a lot about China, but this collection of interviews is especially enlightening because of the ability to glimpse intimate details of a Chinese person’s life. Liao interviewed “a professional mourner, a human-trafficker, a leper, an abbot, a retired government official, a former landowner, a mortician, a feng shui master, a former Red Guard, a political prisoner, a village teacher, a blind street musician, and many others” (from the book jacket).
A powerful and disturbing book, yet hopeful in that there are those who are willing to risk recrimination for getting the truth out. Perhaps reform will eventually come to China.
4 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2008