So I was the 6787th person in Beijing wanting to act in the film and TV industry. There were 6786 young and beautiful, or ugly and old people before me trying to get a role. I felt the competition, but compared with 1.6 billion people in China, 6786 was only the population of my village. I felt an urge to conquer this new village.' Life as a film extra in Beijing might seem hard, but Fenfang - the spirited heroine of Xiaolu Guo's new novel - 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?
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"Its impudent, hand-on-hip attitude cannot fail to charm" ( New Statesman)
"Enjoyable, lively and well-presented" ( Financial Times)
"A feisty and funny rite-of-passage novel...I loved the protagonist, Fenfang, whose strength of personality allows her to blossom amid the crushing anonymity of Beijing" ( New Statesman)
"Funny and melancholy, scintillatingly observed, and has a very big heart" ( The Times)
"Xiaolu Guo is an instinctive, humane witness, her atmospheric, unusually physical narratives are alive and attractively insistent, inspired variations on the theme of quest ... Guo's observations will make you smile and remember; she will also nudge the reader towards thoughts about language, culture and the very business of living" ( Irish Times)
"A nihilistic, Generation X-style manifesto... Its impudent, hand-on-hip attitude cannot fail to charm" New Statesman "Funny and melancholy, scintillatingly observed, and has a very big heart" The Times "Both a personal odyssey and an insightful commentary about modern Chinese society and life itself... Xiaolu Guo is an instinctive, humane witness, her atmospheric, unusually physical narratives are alive and attractively insistent, inspired variations on the theme of quest" Irish Times "A pure and bracing blast of universal youth... I loved it. It shines with the utterly blameless, scarily fragile arrogance of youth itself, the absolute certainty that death is better than middle age" Daily Telegraph "A breath of the freshest air imaginable. She cuts through the smog of hype and platitude" -- Boyd Tonkin Independent
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