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By Maureen McHugh

Discussed December 2000

Buy China Mountain Zhang


  1. One major theme of this novel is alieness, particularly Zhang's false Chinese appearance and his gayness. Did you relate to that alien nature? Do you think it was the point of the novel?
    An interesting early aspect of this is the difference between Zhang and his arranged date, Quian San-xiang. While he appears to fit into society as a respectable Chinese man, he in fact is not completely Chinese and is gay, a crime in society, which contrasts with San-xiang's socially unacceptable ugliness while she thinks and talks like a perfect party theorist.
  2. Why does Zhang "come-out" as non-Chinese to his Foreman early in the novel? He doesn't explain why, and there doesn't seem to be any benefit. Is there any connection between this action and his later coming out to San-xiang late in the novel?
  3. How does Zhang change during the novel?
    He seems to change in a very slow and passive way.
  4. What does the use of language add to the story?
    The Chinese phrase for prostitute translates to English as "hurry-hurry"
  5. Were Zhang's dealings with depression accurately portrayed? Was his passivity depression related?
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