yan lianke
Yan Lianke

YAN LIANKE

was born in 1958. He is the author of a

huge number of novels and story

collections,

all remarkable for both their subject matter and their style. He has received many literary prizes, the most prestigious: the Lu Xun in 2000 and the Lao She in 2004. An extract from his extremely powerful and relevant novella THE DAYS, MONTHS, YEARS will appear in the next edition of PEN International Magazine.

 

The film adaptation of DREAM OF DING VILLAGE, renamed TILL DEATH DO US PART, was released in China on May 10 2011, starring Zhang Ziyi and Aaron Kwok. From acclaimed director, Changwei Gu, it was promoted at the Hong Kong International Film Festival and was the recipient of excellent reviews.

 

Yan Lianke's latest book ZHALIE ZHI ('THE EXPLOSIVE CHRONICLE') is published in China by Shanghai 99. The novel unfolds in small village called Explosion in the Balou Mountains, and forms a loose trilogy with SISHU (FOUR BOOKS) and SHOU HUO (LENIN'S KISSES).

NOMINATED FOR CZECH AWARD MAGNESIA LITERA 2014

FINALIST FOR THE MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE 2013

SHORTLISTED FOR THE INDEPENDENT FOREIGN FICTION PRIZE 2012

SHORTLISTED FOR THE MAN ASIAN LITERARY PRIZE 2011

LONGLISTED FOR THE PRINCIPE DE ASTURIAS PRIZE FOR LETTERS 2011

 

FOUR BOOKS (SISHU)
Four Books

Four Books - whose title refers both to the four "canons" of Confucianism and the four Gospels - is a strong work of violent, shocking, alternating voices that tell the story of the creation of a world, and what a nightmare that was. The three years of the "Great Leap Forward" imagined by Mao, from 1959 to 1961, cost the lives of more than thirty-six million people. Four ways of narrating the madness of men, four tones in which we recognize the voice of Yan Lianke, his poetic language that has the power of a song of love and faith in humanity. Understandably, this novel will probably never be published in mainland China.

To be published in UK, USA, Australia, Norway and Czech Republic.

Sales

Chatto UK

Philippe Picquier France

Grove Atlantic USA

Text Australia

Font Forlag Norway

Verzone Czech Republic

Material: Chinese and French editions (416pp).

LENIN'S KISSES (SHOU HUO)
Lenin's Kisses US Cover

WINNER OF THE LAO SHE LITERATURE AWARD in 2004

WINNER OF THE LU XUN AWARD IN 1997

SELECTED AS 'BEST FICTION BOOKS OF 2012' by KIRKUS

SELECTED AS 'BEST BOOKS OF 2012' by THE NEW YORKER

SELECTED AS 'NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS' CHOICE'

SELECTED AS 'BEST BOOKS OF 2012' BY MACLEAN'S

FINALIST FOR THE MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE 2013

'A satirical masterpiece.' Kirkus Reviews

'Lenin's Kisses is a grand comic novel, wild in spirit and inventive in technique. It's a rhapsody that blends the imaginary with the real, raves about the absurd and the truthful, inspires both laughter and tears. Carlos Rojas's translation captures the vigor of the original, funny, poised, peculiar but always rational. The publication of this magnificent work in English should be an occasion for celebration.' Ha Jin, author of Waiting and Nanjing Requiem

'A masterpiece on many levels, most pertinently literary. It is crafted in the most lyrical prose style, and in an intimate voice filled with poetic flourishes and narrative craftsmanship. This is a tale of modern China with all its wonders, marvels and absurdities and ironies roped together, making it a must-read. It's little wonder that the author has won both China's equivalences of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. And this book is the finest gem to reflect this man's gift.' Da Chen, author of My Last Empress

In the village of Liven, on a day in the middle of a sweltering summer, it suddenly begins to snow, a hot snow that falls for seven days-seven long days that not only transform summer into winter but that forever disrupt the balance of life there. This mystifying climatic incongruity begins the award-winning novel Lenin's Kisses, an absurdist masterpiece that melds fable, history, and satire in an enthralling tragicomedy set in modern day China.

Nestled deep within the Balou mountains, by and large spared from the government's watchful eye, the people of Liven enjoy harmonious days filled with enough food and enough leisure to be fully content. But when their crops are obliterated by an unseasonal snowstorm, and with it their means of earning an income, a county official arrives with a lucrative scheme to not only raise money for the district, but to boost his career as well. He convinces the village to start a travelling act showcasing their talents, which are unlike anything he has ever witnessed. The majority of the one hundred and ninety-seven villagers are disabled, and their skill sets include Blind Tonghua's acute listening, One-Eye's one-eyed needle threading, and Deafman Ma's firecrackers on the ear.

With the profits from this extraordinary show, the county official intends to buy Lenin's embalmed corpse from Russia-where it is slowly decaying from lack of upkeep-and install it in a grand mausoleum to attract tourism. In the ultimate marriage of capitalism and communism, such an incredible acquisition would not only benefit the inhabitants of Liven, but the entire region. No citizen of Liven would need to work again and an improved sense of harmony would exist. However, even the best intentions go astray, and the success of the Shuanghuai County Special-Skills Performance Troupe comes at a serious price.

Yan Lianke, one of China's most distinguished writers, whose works often push the envelope of his country's censorship system, delivers a humorous, daring, and riveting portrait of the trappings and consequences of greed and corruption at the heart of all humanity.

'Both a blistering satire and a bruising saga, this epic novel by Yan (Dream of Ding Village) examines the grinding forces of communism and capitalism, and the volatile zones where the two intersect... Yan boldly plunges into the psychic gap between China's decades-old conditioned response to communist doctrine and its redefinition of itself as a capitalist power, creating with bold, carnivalesque strokes a heartbreaking story of greed, corruption, and the dangers of utopia.' Publisher's Weekly

'Yan's novel expresses humanity's innate weakness, as well as the tragic condition of rushing headlong down a dead-end road in an attempt to extricate itself from an impossible situation. The work's depth lies in its ability to express an unbearable sorrow, even while constantly making the reader laugh out loud. We can hereby announce that China has published a truly miraculous novel.' Hong Kong Mingpao Weekly

‘The award-winning novelist Yan Lianke is one of China's most interesting writers and a master of imaginative satire... Lenin's Kisses is an absurdist historical allegory of the money-making fever that swept China after Deng Xiaoping opened up the Chinese economy in the 1990s. [Lianke] has advised writers to confront censorship with "art, not politics" [and] this innovative novel, with its wit, humanity and satire, sets a provocative example.’ The Guardian

'Yan at the peak of his absurdist powers. He writes in the spirit of the dissident writer Vladimir Voinovich, who observed that “reality and satire are the same.' Evan Osnos, in The New Yorker, best books of 2012

Lenin's Kisses mocks the way capitalist practices interweave with Communist ideology in China... Lenin's Kisses wickedly satirizes a sycophantic society where money and power are indiscriminately worshiped.’ Wall Street Journal

'A satirical masterpiece.' Kirkus Reviews

'Yan Lianke weaves a passionate satire of today's China, a marvelous circus where the one eyed-man is king... Brutal. And wickedly funny.' L'Express

'a beguiling storyteller.' Sunday Age, Australia

'Yan Lianke maintains an utterly uncompromising stance... the unflinching eye that nevertheless leaves you blinking with the whirling absurdities of the human condition.’ The Independent, UK

'Lianke’s lyrical prose... summons rare wonder: he manages to create a wretched, absurd and beautiful universe both brand-new and newly eternal.' MacLean’s Canada, best books of 2012

In his angry 2012 article, Yan wrote that “ People live like dogs in this society. I dream of being able to bark out loud in my books, and of turning my barking into exquisite music.” This compelling, deeply felt novel might have achieved that unsettling aim.’ New Humanist, UK

Sales

Editions Philippe Picquier France

 

Chunfeng Art and Literature Press China

 

Font Forlag Norway

 

Riva Bulgaria

 

Text Australia

 

Grove Atlantic USA

 

Chatto & Windus UK

 

Tiderne Skifter Denmark

 

Editura Allfa Romania

 

Eichborn Germany

 

Final Turkey

 

Bokförlaget Atlantis Sweden

 

Automatica Editorial Spain

 

Material: Chinese, French and English editions (544pp).

DREAM OF DING VILLAGE
Dream of Ding Village USA Cover

NOW A FEATURE FILM STARRING ZHANG ZIYI, DIRECTED BY CHANGWEI GU.

 

SHORTLISTED FOR THE INDEPENDENT FOREIGN FICTION PRIZE 2012


SHORTLISTED FOR THE MAN ASIAN LITERARY PRIZE 2011

 

Banned in China.

 

'This was a novel that gained warm and vigorous support throughout the judging process. It tells a dramatic, lyrical, courageous and in the end heart-breaking story of modern China and the people who have to cope with its bewildering transformations. So we wished to give a special commendation to Dream of Ding Village by Yan Lianke, translated by Cindy Carter. We recommend it fervently.' Boyd Tonkin, Head of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize Jury

 

'The defining work of his career; not just an elegantly crafted piece of literature but a devastating critique of China’s runaway development.' Jonathan Watts, Guardian

 

Officially censored upon its original Chinese publication, Dream of Ding Village is Chinese novelist Yan Lianke’s most important novel to date. Set in a poor village in Henan Province, it is a deeply moving and beautifully written account of a blood-selling scandal in contemporary China.

 

As the book opens, Ding Village’s town directors, looking for a way to lift their village from poverty, decide to open a dozen blood-plasma collection stations. The directors hope to drain the townspeople of their blood and sell it to the villages near and far. Although the citizens prosper in the short run, the rampant blood selling leads to an outbreak of AIDS and a huge loss of life. Based on a real-life blood-selling scandal in eastern China, Dream of Ding Village is the result of three years of undercover work by Yan Lianke, who was an assistant to a well-known Beijing anthropologist studying a small village decimated by HIV/AIDS as a result of unregulated blood selling.

 

Dream of Ding Village focuses on one village, and the story of one family, destroyed when one son rises to the top of the Party pile as he exploits the situation, while another is infected and dies. The result is a passionate and steely critique of the rate at which China is developing- and what happens to those who get in the way.

 

'A brave, dark and poetic account of modern Chinese malaise... Yan Lianke proves himself not only as a writer of political vision, but also one with a unique narrative voice... Yan Lianke's true story based prose combines an oral storytelling tradition with daring experiment - something rare in contemporary Chinese literature. I urge anyone interested in modern China to read this book.' Xiaolu Guo, author of A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary For Lovers

 

'Lianke's brazen, unflinching portrayal of a community in the throes of collapse makes for a brilliant and harrowing novel.' Publisher's Weekly

 

‘His lyricism of despair, full of frenzied life, even when there is foam on lips, gives this novel of Yan Lianke it’s atrocious grace.’ Le Monde

 

‘Yan Lianke denounces an alarming situation… his novel is a true revelation.’ Rolling Stone

 

‘A sorrowful but captivating novel about the price of progress in modern China. The book, which was censored in that country, builds to an act of violence that resonates with the impact of Greek tragedy or Shakespearean drama.’ Kirkus Reviews

 

‘a revealing mirror of Chinese society... A tender story that cuts to the bone.' Transfuge

 

'Appearing in English at last, the banned Chinese novel Dream of Ding Village, by Yan Lianke is a furious satire of capitalism and corruption' Guardian

 

‘The novel is gripping, swift, heartfelt, occasionally exhilarating and often surprising, due in large part to the book's two big aces: the charming, naïve narrative voice of the dead boy and the dynamic, larger-than-life figure of grandpa, the central character and the only morally grounded citizen of Ding Village.’ Shelf Awareness

 

'Yan is clearly making a statement about the personal and spiritual prices paid for China's runaway development.' Lionel Shriver

 

'It reads like a fable, unmoored from time… Yan’s prose amply captures his outrage. Above all, it offers a window into a world American readers rarely see — in which, for example, AIDS sufferers defy death by boasting of how many steamed buns they can eat. In the end Dream of Ding Village works both as a horrifying social critique and, strange to say, as a perversely gripping Gothic tale. This novel delivers not only a front-lines message from Henan Province but also news of Yan Lianke’s skill as a messenger.' Boston Globe

 

'Dream of Ding Village paints a riveting and disturbing portrait of village life in the grip of epidemic... Dream of Ding Village is powerful and peerless.' Sydney Morning Herald

 

'A powerful look at the AIDS scandal in Henan Province during the 1990s... Communist ideals battle against capitalistic impulses and human nature in this grand, layered novel, a must-read for anyone interested in present-day China.' Booklist Online

 

'Officially censored upon its Chinese publication, and the subject of a bitter lawsuit between author and publisher, Dream of Ding Village is Chinese novelist Yan Lianke’s most important novel to date... Based on a real-life blood-selling scandal in eastern China, Dream of Ding Village is the result of three years of undercover work by Yan Lianke, who worked as an assistant to a well-known Beijing anthropologist in an effort to study a small village decimated by HIV/AIDS as a result of unregulated blood selling... The result is a passionate and steely critique of the rate at which China is developing--and what happens to those who get in the way.' Goodreads.com

 

'What a dilemma Yan Lianke must pose to his government. He's one of China's most celebrated writers, and among its most censored... Lianke, a native of Henan Province, plays with farce and satire and allegory as he spins his dark tale. His description of what has been lost is as mesmerizing as his critique of those to blame is merciless.' Barnes & Noble

 

'A powerful and shocking piece of work' The Big Issue

 

'One of the most prolific and bravest authors to come from China, brings us a disturbing chronicle of one village’s deterioration caused by ‘the spreading fever’' Guardian

Sales

Constable UK

 

Editions Philippe Picquier France

 

Text Australia

 

Editora Record Brazil

 

Ullstein Germany

 

Font Forlag Norway

 

Grove Atlantic USA

 

Nottetempo Italy

 

Tiderne Skifter Denmark

 

Riva Bulgaria

 

Automatica Editorial Spain

 

Bokförlaget Atlantis Sweden

 

Editura Allfa Romania

 

Teodolito Portugal

 

Kawade Japan

 

Material: Chinese, French and English editions (238pp).

serve the people
Serve The People

Banned in China.

 

Serve the People! is the sexy, satirical sensation chronicling a love affair between the wife of a powerful Communist army commander and her household’s servant – a remarkable, profound and deliciously comic satire on Mao’s famous slogan and the political and sexual taboos of his regime, by one of the most important authors writing from inside China today.

 

Liu Lian, the young, pretty wife of a powerful Red Army Division Commander is left to idle at home while her husband furthers the revolution. In her boredom she begins to toy with the household servant – Wu Dawang, a conscientious and exemplary soldier – and decides to set a new rule. Whenever the household’s SERVE THE PEOPLE! sign is removed from it’s normal place on the dinner table and placed elsewhere, Wu Dawang is to stop what he is doing and attend to her needs upstairs. He dutifully vows to obey her instruction.

 

As life is breathed into the illicit sexual affair, Yan Lianke brilliantly captures how the model soldier becomes an eager collaborator with the restless and demanding Liu Lian, their actions inspired by primitive passions that they are only just discovering. The short affair culminates in three days of ravenous lovemaking, the peak of which is an evening in which the lovers compete to see who can prove themselves the most counterrevolutionary by destroying the compound’s most sacred Communist icons.

 

This fetishistic love story and insolent variation on the official History may have been banned in China but managed to find a huge audience on the internet, and gained praise as a subversive critique of official corruption, leadership hypocrisy and the insanity of the Cultural Revolution.

 

‘Drips with the kind of satire that can only come from deep within the machinery of Chinese communism. Eschewing broad comedy, Yan barbs the text with enough social criticism to receive a priceless blurb from the Central Propaganda Bureau.’ Financial Times

 

'Crackles with sexual tension as Yan Lianke peels back Mao’s revolution to reveal the broad vein of humanism that overcame the revolution.’ Patrick Tyler, former Beijing bureau chief, New York Times

 

‘A savagely funny satire of revolutionary politics and corruption, written in prose as crisp and lovely as its barbs are sharp. A red hot love story that also offers real insight into the Chinese language and imagination, Yan’s new book is a festive banquet of old-school sloganeering and modern temptation.’ Rachel Dewoskin, author of Foreign Babes in Beijing

 

'Lianke spares no one . . . 'Serve the People!' is a wonderfully biting satire, brimming with absurdity, humor and wit . . .the novel is exuberantly drawn in several shades of revolutionary red.' LA Times

 

'This passionate satire of clandestine, intimate privilege in an ostensibly classless, egalitarian society is exceedingly carefully written, so that it is at once funny, sad, and bitterly ironic on nearly every page. Oh, and sensual, too.' Ray Olson, Booklist STARRED REVIEW

 

‘A very funny, and sexy, satire’ Independent on Sunday

Sales

Ullstein Germany

 

Einaudi Italy

 

Japan (all Yan’s books published)

 

Editions Philippe Picquier France

 

Podium NL

 

Constable & Robinson UK

 

Text Australia & New Zealand

 

Grove Atlantic USA

 

Record Brazil

 

Kinneret Israel

 

BB Art Czech Republic

 

Polirom Romania

 

Maeva Ediciones Spain

 

Teorema Portugal

 

Font Forlag Norway

 

Aschehoug Forlag Denmark

 

Riva Bulgaria

 

Bungei Shunjyu Japan

 

Material: finished copies of English, French and many more (228pp).