Review

Ground Covered with Chicken Feathers is a representative work in the neorealist movement. The novel uses the trivialities of the Lin family’s daily life to display the difficulties and hardships encountered in the lives of ordinary, lower class people throughout the eighties and nineties in China. The pessimism starts with the story of the sour tofu. From then on, the tale is destined to live in the ordinary, the base, and the trivial. A prosaic day-to-day account of events takes the place of any dramatized structure of plot or climax. The matters Liu Zhenyun strings together are continually more ordinary and coarse than the previous one recounted. However, perhaps herein lies the author’s brilliance. In these petty and mundane tales of routine, the reader becomes unconsciously aware that the daily life often devoid of meaning is actually meaningful after all. The shock this causes to the spirit has been described as akin to an atom bomb exploding. The reader sees clearly the deadly side of everyday life – how it leads people one step at a time toward oblivion and alienates them from their own selves. 

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