Civil Servant's Notebook

Civil Servant s Notebook A northeastern city in Dongzhou province needs a new Mayor and there are plenty of hungry candidates eager for the top job And as the mandarins of the local Communist Party go through the motions of

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A northeastern city in Dongzhou province needs a new Mayor, and there are plenty of hungry candidates eager for the top job And as the mandarins of the local Communist Party go through the motions of selecting their candidate, the secretive corridors of government are awash with insinuation and subterfuge Dangerous factions begin to form around the two contenders and lonA northeastern city in Dongzhou province needs a new Mayor, and there are plenty of hungry candidates eager for the top job And as the mandarins of the local Communist Party go through the motions of selecting their candidate, the secretive corridors of government are awash with insinuation and subterfuge Dangerous factions begin to form around the two contenders and longstanding rivals, the Vice Mayors Liu Yihe and Peng Guoliang Devious plots, seduction, and bribery are all on the table in a no holds barred scramble for political prestige and personal gain.But, when the personal notebook of a high up official is exposed to the powers that be the government s own internal enforcement brigade its humble pages initiate an office wide manhunt for the anonymous notebook sender, casting a suspicious eye over everyone from lowly department researchers to Vice Mayors But what the culprit fails to foresee is that they have started the ball rolling on an investigation that threatens to swallow everyone, including themselves, into the eye of a political storm the likes of which have never been seen in Dongzhou Not even the most practiced of civil servants can predict just who will outmaneuver the consequences, and it is likely that no one will remain unscathed.In the spirit of Andrej Kurkov comes a satirical absurdist blend which blurs the boundaries between fact and fiction in China s halls of power Penned by a former insider, The Civil Servant s Notebook offers a glimpse into the distorted psyches of those who roam those guarded halls Told through multiple narrators, Wang Xiaofang crafts a unique and complex tale of official mischief where civil servants prioritize personal welfare over public welfare and serve the people is just about the last thing on their minds

One thought on “Civil Servant's Notebook”

  1. This is the first book of Wang Xiofang to be translated in English and after reading this wonderful satire of public service in China, I wait in anticipation of more. Mr. Xiofang writes from the position of experience as he was a career civil servant - which in ancient China and it appears in the Republic of China is a respectable position. The notebook is akin to several short stories each centered on a different character even a Chair (which hilariously reminisces on the impetus a throne gives [...]

  2. Given the nearly uninterrupted growth in China since the economic reforms of 1978, it is fascinating to see how the Chinese view their life on the job. This has been brought up powerfully by American observers of the Chinese economic transformation, in such books as Factory Girls or Country Driving. But these are the accounts of observers. You also occasionally see the emerging work culture in movies. My favorite is Last Train Home. But how do the Chinese themselves think about work? Language is [...]

  3. Former civil servant Wang Xiaofang has in recent years enjoyed credible popularity for his fictitious works on corruption and politics, and his latest novel 'The Civil Servant's Notebook' proves yet another gripping piece of literature about the multifaceted operations within a government office, causing the reader to think critically about what is write and wrong. The story is told from multiple perspectives as the candidates for mayor in Dongzhou City, Liu Yihe and Peng Guoliang, rally for the [...]

  4. Office politics on steroids, CCP-style. The Civil Servant's Notebook is the story of the unmasking of a corrupt official in a big Chinese city. The story is told in short chapters from the perspective of the different actors involved in the mayor's office. It shows how one man's downfall effects all those around him that had counted on rising up together with him, or who schemed for influence and personal gain against him. I'm not sure if some of the literary qualities were lost in translation, [...]

  5. I really enjoyed reading this. It can be a little bit preachy on regards of life, loyalty, money and etc, but it fits well within context. Having taken administrative science and public admin courses, i understood very well 'the battles` that civil servants may face. Some of them enter the government line filled with ideals to do good and serve the public. However, they will be disappointed to discover that it just not the same. The writer portrayed all the characters in the book brilliantly; fr [...]

  6. This book illuminated my experience of living in China, in ways both welcome and unwelcome. Although a key character proclaims, "the opposite of darkness is darkness," the author uses equal measures of slapstick and black humor to satirize his former life as a Chinese government employee.I find it shocking that this book isn't banned in China. Although we find a good number of positive role models working in the government, when taken as a whole the book portrays the current system as irreparabl [...]

  7. This is the very first English translation of a best-selling Chinese novel under this very popular genre in China called "officialdom novels." The author, an ex-Chinese civil servant himself, very humorously depicts the behind-the-scenes politics of a municipal-level office. The narrative shifts with every chapter, and this unique style puts the reader in every character's mind. It can be confusing some times, but nonetheless takes us close and personal.

  8. Finished reading only up to first chapter, after that I found it difficult to continue reading because it's either I got bored or too much information to digest in. Will try to read it again in the future (way,way in the future)

  9. A brilliant read. Exposes an image of political philosophy and corruption to blend into the current situation.

  10. Interesting take on the internal machinations within a directorate - until the same situation is repeated multiple times from the viewpoints of each of the directorate's staff. Add to that irrelevant musings from the viewpoints of stationery and furniture in the directorate and you get a massive and overly long snooze fest.

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