Beijing Coma doesn’t represent the main character who is supposed to be in a coma, but is actually conscious in a paralyzed body. What it perhaps represents is the opposite – a Chinese body with a dead mind. The story revolves around Dai Wei, who was shot as he was leaving Tiananmen Square and as a result is in a waking coma – his body is paralyzed but his mind is not. As such he is a silent witness to all that goes on around him and is inflicted upon him.
One of the most notable features of the book is the description of the Tiananmen Square protests – not just the massacre. He goes into what some might consider tedious detail and manages to paint a very real picture of not only the students and their motivations but the inner machinations of the protests as a whole. He manages to bring alive the entire scenario which makes the massacre ending it even more horrifying – not that he spares us even then. The description of one of the students who is crushed by a tank seems to remain in the mind of most readers, including this one.
lǐ wén xīn