Dream of Ding Village by Yan Lianke

Dream of Ding Village

Yan Lianke

What an interesting novel. AIDS - a commonly used word but rarely written about in works of fiction. Using real events, the author has managed to bring to life the aspirations of poor, village people to rise above their status and try to live a better life. Unfortunately this comes at a great expense - they pay with their lives. Narrated by a dead child, some may view his father as an entrepreneur. Me - I view him as callous and selfish.


Blood banks opened in the village market, at the village crossroads and in the empty rooms of private homes. They even opened in converted cowsheds. The owners would simply scrub down the floors and walls, lay wooden planks over the trough to make a table and hang blood-collections vials frrom the rafters. With this came some basic equipment - needles, syringes, plastic tubes, bottles of rubbing alcohol and more vials - they were ready to begin buying and selling blood.
Throughout the village, blood-filled plastic tubing hung like vines, and bottles of plasma like plump red grapes. Everywhere you looked there were broken glass vials and syringes, discarded cotton balls, used needles and splashes of congealed blood. Bottles for collecting and sorting blood plasma dangled from rafters and littered the surfaces of benches and tables. All day long, the air was filled with the stench of fresh blood.

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