Perhaps I should pick less dark novels? The Vagrants tells the story of a Chinese town after the Cultural Revolution where a supposed “counter-revolutionary” is savagely executed (and her kidneys given to a high-ranking officials) and the ensuing popular protest is squashed just as savagely. To enliven the story add the distressed parents of the counter-revolutionary; a dirt-poor family with too many girls to raise who treats the oldest as a semi-slave; a sadist who pretends to volunteer to bury the executed woman; and a good-for nothing young man who turns out to be surprisingly sweet, the one ray of hope in the story.
Yet another proof that authoritarian regimes mangle people. Well-written, a little slow to my taste, and mostly gloomy.