“The Dark Road” – Ma Jian

Ma Jian’s story definitely gives an absolutely different perspective on China’s “one child policy” than what you would expect. The narrative proceeds in a way that feels a bit like a roller-coaster ride, which can be perceived from both a positive & a negative side. It doesn’t manage to captivate your attention completely but nevertheless there are still moments that are absolutely gripping, during which you wouldn’t put the book down under any circumstances. The style in general feels quite raw nevertheless, with the impression that it lacked to be a bit more polished in order to flow fluently.

If I had to name the biggest flaw of the storyline, it would be the characters which feel like they lack depth and genuine emotions, that make it difficult for the reader to relate to what’s happening. It’s not really understandable how both the mother & the father that are the main characters of the story don’t really have a relationship with feelings towards their daughter or it might also be the fact that it simply doesn’t come across with the style it’s written in.

All in all it was an interesting read though. Child-limiting policies might sound like a good idea in our society with a shockingly explosive birth rate from a distant perspective, but here you actually get to find out the real stories of how people are affected by such governmental implications.

To sum it up, it’s dark, it brings forward important issues, it’s touching at times but throughout the entire time I just wished that it would have been written in a more captivating way.

“The Dark Road” – Ma Jian

★★★☆☆ (3/5)

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