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A tragedy waiting to happen: Tiananmen Square, by Lai Wen, reviewed

A moving coming-of-age novel sees a shy, introverted girl finding friends and freedom at Beijing university – until the authorities begin their murderous clamp-down

1 June 2024

9:00 AM

1 June 2024

9:00 AM

Tiananmen Square Lai Wen

Swift Press, pp.528, 20

Lai Wen’s captivating book about growing up in China and witnessing the horrific massacre in Tiananmen Square reads like a memoir. The protagonist’s name is Lai, and her description of her parents is utterly convincing – the pretty, bitter housewife mother, jealous of the opportunities her daughter has; the father permanently cowed after being briefly interned by the government decades earlier.

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