Utterly compelling, Foreign Devil tells the story of Ni Bing, whose desire for a free life earns her the disparagement of family and friends. Amid the turbulence of the Cultural Revolution and the kafakesque rules of contemporary China, she dreams of attending college and moving to America. Trapped in a web of gossip and innuendo, betrayed by her married lover, threated by the local police, and thwarted by the haunting past, Ni Bing finds more than just a way out. By losing her innocence, she finds herself—and uncovers the intricate secrets of her parents. A powerful, engrossing tale of a woman who learns faith and love through fear, loss, and despair, Foreign Devil reveals a captivating and richly evocative portrait of Chinese life.
“In a world where the wind of ideology blows so fiercely that no one’s will remains unbent, to cry for the suffering of an enemy is to become an enemy yourself. This is the world—China during and just after the cultural revolution—in which the narrator of this remarkable novel spends her childhood and adult life. Few writers have written so well and with such humanity about harshness; even fewer have written so believably about the terms by which the soul can survive its passage through it. Foreign Devil is a rare thing: a novel possessed of a genuine and original beauty.” —Chuck Wachtel, author of Because We Are Here
“Ni Bing has been different right from birth, different in ways that only increase as she grows older and must choose between being ‘a Party member’ or a ‘foreign devil’—that is, someone who associates with foreigners and has foreign ideas. By the time Ni Bing makes that choice, however, she has lost all her faith in Mao and the Party. The new China is a lot like the old, thought, and before she can leave, Ni Bing . . . a true-grit heroine . . . must endure bureaucratic obstruction and corruption that would deter all but the toughest [in this] debut novel of life and love in Red China.” —Kirkus Reviews