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Caroline Fraser writes:
Red Mandarin Dress is Qiu’s strangest, most haunting book, reaching back before the Cultural Revolution to an era of ghost stories full of castrated men and avenging harpies. A serial killer taunts Shanghai with the corpses of young women in red mandarin dresses, ripped at the bodice and torn at the thigh. The dresses, vintage pieces from the 1950s and 1960s, provide the first hint that the murders might be connected to the Revolution. They recall the story that one woman was ‘mass-criticised’ while wearing a mandarin dress slit to the waist with scissors by Red Guards.