Coming-of-age novel

A tragedy waiting to happen: Tiananmen Square, by Lai Wen, reviewed

Lai Wen’s captivating book about growing up in China and witnessing the horrific massacre in Tiananmen Square reads like a memoir. The protagonist’s name is Lai, and her description of her parents is utterly convincing – the pretty, bitter housewife mother, jealous of the opportunities her daughter has; the father permanently cowed after being briefly interned by the government decades earlier. In a letter at the end, the author explains that her story is faction – embellished fiction. So how much is true? We will never know. I find this slightly irksome. I so admire writers like Henry Marsh, Karl Ove Knausgaard and Rachel Cusk who are prepared to irritate