Shu Qingchun, a Chinese novelist and dramatist, earned fame owing to his remarkable contributions in Chinese literature amidst the 20th century. He wrote many popular novels Teahouse and Rickshaw Boy under his well-known pen name Lao She. Cat Country is a dystopian satirical novel condemning the system of life in China.
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Author: Lao She
Genre: Dystopian Satire
Page Count: 298
Goodreads ratings: 3.6 of 5
My ratings:7 of 10
Published: 1933 (Original publication)
Publisher: Hunan literature and Art Publishing House; 1st edition (August 1, 2017)
For The Latest Price: Cat Country
***Warning Spoilers Below This Point***
The plot shows a vicious satire of the political situation in China during the 1930s. It all began when an Unnamed narrator crash-landed on Mars, with his two dead allies. The narrator found himself restrained by strange cat people who are the natives of the country. Escaping from the captivity of the cat people, our narrator came across with the Leader of the inhabitants, Scorpion. He was politically powerful because he was the landlord of the reverie trees farm. The cat people were so obsessed with the leaves from the reverie tree that they even substitute it for their food. They showed the narrator developing curiosity to know more about the Cat Country and its people. Scorpion soon took the narrator under his employment. He started working on the land of reverie, aimed to make the cat people phlegmatic and weary.
The narrator enjoys support from Scorpion, who protects his crops with clever tactics. They knew the narrator among the natives as Mr. Earth. As the plot unfolds, they showed the narrator on a detailed exploration of the Cat Country, learning the norms and observing the people. He felt sympathy and disgust all at once while encountering the means of life in Cat Country. The natives were dirty, weak and chaotic, feeding upon unsafe and unhealthy food items.
Mr Earth also shares a bond with Scorpion’s son because the boy showed him the Disorderly state of the country. The narrator has sensed that the country is on its verge of destruction. The libraries, museums, and schools were at their worst because of corrupt officials. They emptied the museums as they sold the artifacts off to the outlanders. The schools offer a university diploma on the first day, offering no knowledge. The students abuse and attack their teachers, while teachers neglect to promote any kind of skill or knowledge to their students.
The political fight in Cat Country became dominated by a party “brawls” whose political agendas displayed impact by a foreign system. They uphold the ideology “Everybody Shareskysim”. The narrator lodged in the Cat Country until the last gasp of it. He saw the crumping of the country in front of his very eyes. Invaders from other parts of Mars raided the country and the cat people who spend ages preparing themselves to be dusted. The country experienced an invasion by foreign powers, several cat people lost their lives and the remaining held captive by the intruder till they eat themselves. The story ended when they rescued the narrator using a French aircraft.
I rate this novel 7 out of 10. The plot successfully delivers the idea Lao She wants us to perceive, but it seems uneven. It is a brilliant satire, unveiling the ugly reality of the Chinese system in the 1930s. I find the novel prophetic as many parts are still true. Would I re-read this novel? No. Am I glad I read it? Yes.
For The Latest Price: The Cat Country
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