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A northeastern city in Dongzhou province needs a new Mayor, and there are plenty of hungry candidates eager for the top job. And as the mandarins of the local Communist Party go through the motions of selecting their candidate, the secretive corridors of government are awash with insinuation and subterfuge. Dangerous factions begin to form around the two contenders and longstanding rivals, the Vice-Mayors Liu Yihe and Peng Guoliang. Devious plots, seduction, and bribery are all on the table in a no-holds-barred scramble for political prestige and personal gain.
But, when the personal notebook of a high-up official is exposed to the powers that be - the government's own internal enforcement brigade &- its humble pages initiate an office wide manhunt for the anonymous notebook sender, casting a suspicious eye over everyone from lowly department researchers to Vice-Mayors. But what the culprit fails to foresee is that they have started the ball rolling on an investigation that threatens to swallow everyone, including themselves, into the eye of a political storm the likes of which have never been seen in Dongzhou. Not even the most practiced of civil servants can predict just who will outmaneuver the consequences, and it is likely that no one will remain unscathed.
In the spirit of Andrej Kurkov comes a satirical absurdist blend which blurs the boundaries between fact and fiction in China's halls of power. Penned by a former insider, The Civil Servant's Notebook offers a glimpse into the distorted psyches of those who roam those guarded halls. Told through multiple narrators, Wang Xiaofang crafts a unique and complex tale of official mischief where civil servants prioritize personal welfare over public welfare and 'serve the people' is just about the last thing on their minds...
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