The Adventures of Mao on the Long March – Frederic Tuten

I’ve known about this book since I first met Tuten and how he fictionally depicts Mao’s famous “Long March” by making a collage of historical information and quotes from unrelated literary works. I finally decided to read it and was disappointed. Tuten’s idea is so clever that it started his literary career, but the work feels sloppy, taking pages of text and pasting them within his parameters, rather than a careful incorporating of shorter quotes that I expected. Also, as John Updike would complain of one of Tuten’s later works (which is ironic because he praises this one), Tuten’s writing is imbedded in the art world. The tale ends with a mock interview with Mao that I found amusing only because the Chairman sounds exactly like the author.