The Face of Time, by An Li
ISBN 978-1-946104-46-5, 550 pages. First Edition 2023 Chax Press
Isn’t your hometown mine, too?
The story is set in China where a Chinese American, Tian Liben, attempts to invest in his hometown. An idealist who aspires to fulfill what he imagines to be the boundless potential of his native village, he becomes helplessly trapped in a complicated web of power, interest, culture, and human nature. When he eventually realizes that the village is a muddy pit and not a gold mine, he can no longer escape.
Liben said Mazi Village had actually gone. It had disappeared forever from this planet and what we saw and touched now was nothing but a facsimile. If there were any traces of Mazi Village of yore, they could be found in two places — the old locust tree nicknamed Old Mom, and Three-River Bay. Liben suggested that we go to these two places, which might give us some consolation.