Officially censored upon its Chinese publication, Dream of Ding Village is Chinese novelist Yan Lianke's most important novel to date. Set in a poor village in Henan province, it is a deeply moving and beautifully written account of a blood-selling scandal in contemporary China.
As the book opens, Ding Village's town directors, looking for a way to lift their village from poverty, decide to open a dozen blood-plasma collection stations. The directors hope to drain the townspeople of their blood and sell it to villages near and far. The novel focuses on one family, destroyed when one son rises to the top of the Party as he exploits the situation, while another is infected and dies. Based on a real-life blood-selling scandal in eastern China, the novel is the result of three years of undercover work by Yan, who once worked as an assistant to a well-known Beijing anthropologist in an effort to study a small village decimated by HIV/AIDS as a result of unregulated blood selling. The result is a passionate and steely critique of the rate at which China is developing--and what happens to those who get in the way.