The Dissident, by Nell Freudenberger

Rong Rong’s 1994 photo ‘East Village, Beijing, No 34’ depicts artist Zhang Huan hanging by chains from the ceiling of his studio while blood drips from his neck on to a hot plate, producing an awful hiss and stench. Nell Freudenberger’s fictional versions of the near-mythical underground performances that took place in Beijing’s East Village in the years after the Tiananmen Square uprising animate a significant portion of her new novel, The Dissident, whose narrative is split between Beijing’s East Village in the 1990s and the lush suburbs of early 21st-century Los Angeles.

Read the full piece in the Observer here

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