RAS Book Club

RAS Library


Discussion Leader: Tom Yamamoto

A mystifying climatic incongruity begins the award-winning novel Lenin’s Kisses—an absurdist, tragicomic masterpiece set in modern day China. Nestled deep within the Balou mountains, spared from the government’s watchful eye, the harmonious people of Liven had enough food and leisure to be fully content. But when their crops and livelihood are obliterated by a seven-day snowstorm in the middle of a sweltering summer, a county official arrives with a lucrative scheme both to raise money for the district and boost his career. The majority of the 197 villagers are disabled, and he convinces them to start a traveling performance troupe highlighting such acts as One-Eye’s one-eyed needle threading. With the profits from this extraordinary show, he intends to buy Lenin’s embalmed corpse from Russia and install it in a grand mausoleum to attract tourism, in the ultimate marriage of capitalism and communism. However, the success of the Shuanghuai County Special-Skills Performance Troupe comes at a serious price.

Yan Lianke is one of China’s most distinguished writers. Among his books are Dream of Ding Village and Serve the people. His works often push the envelope of his country’s censorship system and deliver a humorous, daring, and riveting portrait of the trappings and consequences of greed and corruption at the heart of humanity.

The discussion will be led by Tom Yamamoto who retired from Eli Lilly and Co. and worked another six years in Silicon Valley in corporate finance. Tom moved to Shanghai three years ago to support his wife`s work to start a bio-pharmaceutical company.

Please note that this is a book discussion; the author will not be present.

Dress code for all events in the RAS library is “business casual”; please no shorts or flip-flops.

RSVP: bookevents@royalasiaticsociety.org.cn