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Pick of the paperbacks; Dragon's Village, by Yuan-tsung Chen. New York: New York: Penguin Books. $4.95 .

This autobiographical novel by a woman who, before her defection, was a cadre member in mainland China, lacks grace and subtlety, but we are persuaded by the sincerity of her account.

Ying-ying, the author, joins the Communists. She is sent to the village of Longxiang (Dragon's Village). Its inhabitants are desparately poor, ignorant, suspicious, and brutish.

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While attempting to present the wonders of the revolution to the peasants, Ying-ying endures a life of extreme hardship. The cadres don't know how to carry out a vast social and political experiment, and Ying-ying is astonished by her own cruel and arbitrary judgments.


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