RaveThe New York Times Book Review... a brilliantly reported and eye-opening work of narrative nonfiction ... Demick guides us through the phases of oppression and defiance, decade by appalling decade, which have led the Chinese government to exert such heavy-handed control ... There’s a good deal of exposition, all of it essential, but whenever possible, she presents Ngaba’s brutal history through the stories of individual characters ... I occasionally felt I needed an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of all the players, some of whom vanish for long stretches—in one case, for more than 100 pages—before re-entering the narrative. But Demick...knows what she’s doing. As Eat the Buddha unfolds, we come to understand why she has introduced this particular cast in sufficient detail to make us care about them. They aren’t just a representative sampling of Ngaba residents; they are people who have intersected with history.