by Bei Dao
In Waves, Bei Dao—China’s foremost modern poet—turns to fiction, recording the painful years of the Cultural Revolution and its aftermath. Avoiding polemics, his attention is on individuals—intellectuals and factory workers, drifters and thieves—swept up in the turbulent political tides of contemporary China. Bei Dao himself has been a victim of the censors, and he wrote the title novella clandestinely in a makeshift darkroom while ostensibly developing photographs. The author now lives in exile.