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Bibliophilic Monologues

Twenty Fragments of a Ravenous Youth: A Novel

Twenty Fragments of a Ravenous Youth: A Novel - Xiaolu Guo Twenty Fragments of a Ravenous Youth offers a glimpse into the life of a 20-something Chinese woman trying to survive in the city of Beijing. This is a rather bare statement and does not do justice to what the book truly contains. It's a peek into the psyche of someone who is just like you and me except she exists in a city, in a country that is alien to what people in North America are used. Fenfang's voice is wry and cynical and her signature phrase (also incidentally the one that attracted me to the novel initially:Great Heavenly Bastard in the Skyis very revealing of her irreverent attitude towards life and the living of it. You always feel a bit removed from Fenfang. The book is told almost entirely in narration and contains very little dialogue and most of it is introverted thoughts and observations. Not something that would normally be interesting but somehow, maybe because it's pithy and so very involved, I had no trouble empathizing and feeling for Fenfang. I really loved the ending not because it tied up everything so perfectly but because it ended on this irrepressible note of possibility.This book is a study in contradictions. There is a lot of cynicism in it but it is hope that buoys it and makes it a success. It paints a very convincing picture of a girl trying to survive the life given to her. To not just be a passive passenger in this journey but, excuse my advent into cliches, to make something of herself. I think you will enjoy Xiolu Guo's interpretation of youth and the hunger that accompanies it.