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Julian Meynell's Books

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China Mountain Zhang

China Mountain Zhang - Maureen F. McHugh This is a book set around about 2100 where China has become the dominant super-power and America has had a socialist revolution. This scenario has become more plausible since McHugh wrote her novel, although of course it should not be seen as a prediction.

The novel is unusual for SF in that it concentrates on the hum-drum lives of ordinary individuals. Written from several intertwined first person perspectives it reminds me a little of Alice Munro. In part that is because McHugh shares Munro's strengths in looking at all the little minutia of peoples lives and the small journeys, dissatisfactions and rebellions of life. She also suffers from Munro's weakness of all the 1st person voices sounding overly similar.

The book is a breath of fresh air in the SF genre. It is very rare for SF books to concentrate on this kind of ordinariness and the observations of human emotional nuances are fantastic. However, I'm not sure that either the characters or her literary style stand out. What I think I will remember is the little moments most.

Almost four stars, but it did not quite make my heart go pitter-pat.