Chasing A Dream in The Harsh Time

20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth by Guo, Xiaolu (2009) Paperback - Xiaolu Guo

Title: 20 Fragments of Ravenous Youth

Author: Xiaolu Guo

Publisher: Vintage Digital

Publication Date:  Jan 1st 2001

Page Number: 208 pages



Life as a film extra in Beijing might seem hard, but Fenfang won't be defeated. She has travelled 1800 miles to seek her fortune in the city, and has no desire to return to the never-ending sweet potato fields back home. Determined to live a modern life, Fenfang works as a cleaner in the Young Pioneer's movie theatre, falls in love with unsuitable men and keeps her kitchen cupboard stocked with UFO instant noodles. As Fenfang might say, Heavenly Bastard in the Sky, isn't it about time I got my lucky break?

Longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize


What I Thought:


Heavenly Bastard in The Sky, what a gem. A wonderful read I've got from this book! I realized this kind of story won't be everybody's favorite, but in some ways, I feel related with Fenfang. Well, I didn't have an obsession to became an artist or wrote some scripts, off course. But I exactly feel the way to survive in the big city. The tiredness, the loneliness, and to feel the joy when we had achieved something, to have a little hope which make us spent more times in the unpredictable future in the big city.

This book also kept us wondering from the beginning to the end. We never knew what will going on to Fenfang. What would happened to her next, because everything could be possible, both good or bad. In other hand, I adored Fenfang's spirit. Left hometown to went 1800 miles away to Beijing to reached her dream wasn't easy thing to do. For me, this book is not an ordinary book about "from zero to hero" things. But it's more than that.

The extra pictures in every beginning of the chapter (and also the chapter's "title") definitely a big plus.


Opening Lines:


My youth began when I was 21. At least, that's when I decided it began. That was when I started to think that all those silly things in life -- some of them might possibly be for me.