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The Unbearable Dreamworld of Champa the Driver

by Chan Koonchung

Our anti-hero Champa, disillusioned with his role as chauffeur and ‘Tibetan mastiff puppy’ to Plum, his rich Chinese boss, sets off on his own odyssey from Lhasa to Beijing, the city of his dreams. Both farcical and shockingly brutal, the novel can be seen as an allegory of current Sino-Tibetan relations. Some readers may find the explicit sexual content and violence disturbing.


Extract

Anyway, that day, Plum was out of town and I was feeling bored. I was mooching along the riverbank, thinking about this and that, for example, Plum and the Tara. A few weeks had passed but one thing hadn’t changed: when I fucked Plum, all I could think of was the Tara statuette. Before that, all my fantasies had been about women you had sex with once and then forgot, a different one every time, but now it was the Tara or nothing. I couldn’t get it up for Plum anymore, only for the Bodhisattva. I had to imagine I was having sex with the goddess just so I could make Plum believe it was all for her...
So why was I feeling so pissed off? The trouble was I didn’t like what I was doing, I really didn’t. I was deceiving Plum and offending the Tara. On the surface, I was living the good life, but inside I felt like I was condemned to wander for ever in the lower realms of samsara.
Translated by Nicky Harman

Parallels

I am China by Xiaolu Guo
 

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