|Twenty Fragments of a Ravenous Youth|
Life in modern Beijing and modern China for a young woman, as she travels to Xian, the home of the terra cotta warriors, and to a poor city in Manchuria, where the last emperor Pu Yi lived as a virtual prisoner of the Japanese in the last days of the Qing Dynasty.
Like all Beijing residents from the countryside, she spends three days and nights on a train returning to her village for the Chinese New Year, where she eats "longevity noodles" and listens for several days to the sounds of firecrackers.
In her love life, there is a possessive young man in Beijing, who won't let go of the relationship as she moves out of his apartment and asserts her independence. A new American boyfriend doing research in China for his Ph.D. is part of her move to independence from tradition, but he returns home soon. We follow her hectic emotional journey till in the end she finally reaches the place she wants to be.
Beijing moving fast to modernize - shoddy buildings and garbage strewn alleys, and a changing culture.