12 Feb 2013
Hu Feng, the “counterrevolutionary” leader of a banned literary school, spent twenty-five years in Chinese Communist Party prison system. But back in the early days of Communist China he was among the party’s chief literary theoreticians and critics—at least until factional infighting, and his short fuse, made him persona non grata among the establishment.His wife, Mei Zhi, shared his incarceration for many years. F is her account of that time, beginning ten years after Hu Feng’s initial arrest, as she navigates the party’s Byzantine prison bureaucracy, searching for his whereabouts. Eventually imprisoned then released, she cares for her husband in his rage and suffering, watching his descent into madness as the excesses of the Cultural Revolution take their toll.Both an intimate portrait of Mei Zhi’s life with Hu Feng and a stark account of the prison system and life under Mao, F is at once beautiful and harrowing.