Empires of Dust, by Jiang Zilong, follows the life of one man, Guo Cunxian, whose trajectory mirrors that of China’s, as it journeys from the Cultural Revolution to vast riches. Photo: Alamy Empires of Dust, by Jiang Zilong, follows the life of one man, Guo Cunxian, whose trajectory mirrors that of China’s, as it journeys from the Cultural Revolution to vast riches. Photo: Alamy
Empires of Dust, by Jiang Zilong, follows the life of one man, Guo Cunxian, whose trajectory mirrors that of China’s, as it journeys from the Cultural Revolution to vast riches. Photo: Alamy

Review |
Empires of Dust: Jiang Zilong’s epic study of progress in China is engrossing, if exhausting

  • The father of ‘reform literature’ does not disappoint, with his latest novel being huge in scale, ambition and word count
  • What gives the novel its greatness is how Jiang shuttles between the panoramic and the intimately human

Topic |   Chinese authors
Empires of Dust, by Jiang Zilong, follows the life of one man, Guo Cunxian, whose trajectory mirrors that of China’s, as it journeys from the Cultural Revolution to vast riches. Photo: Alamy Empires of Dust, by Jiang Zilong, follows the life of one man, Guo Cunxian, whose trajectory mirrors that of China’s, as it journeys from the Cultural Revolution to vast riches. Photo: Alamy
Empires of Dust, by Jiang Zilong, follows the life of one man, Guo Cunxian, whose trajectory mirrors that of China’s, as it journeys from the Cultural Revolution to vast riches. Photo: Alamy
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