Susan Barker

The Incarnations

The Incarnations

Betrayal and intrigue in China lived again and again by a Beijing taxi driver across a thousand years


A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
Shortlisted for the Kirkus Prize

'Reads as China's Midnight's Children. Utterly remarkable'
'A kaleidoscopically imaginative novel' THE NEW YORKER
'Mesmerising storytelling' NEW YORK TIMES

I dream of us across the centuries ...

Beijing, 2008, the Olympics are coming, but as taxi driver Wang circles the city's congested streets, he feels barely alive. His daily grind is suddenly interrupted when he finds a letter in the sunshade of his cab. He is being warned: Someone is watching him. Someone who claims to be his soulmate and to have known him for over a thousand years.

Other letters follow, taking Wang back in time: to a spirit-bride in the Tang Dynasty; to young slaves during the Mongol invasion; to concubines plotting to kill the emperor; to a kidnapping in the Opium War; and to Red Guards during the Cultural revolution.

And with each letter, Wang feels the watcher in the shadows growing closer ...


'[A] kaleidoscopically imaginative novel...Barker stitches together an unnervingly perceptive portrait of China and of the enduring influence that its past has on the present' THE NEW YORKER

'A thrilling journey through a thousand years of obsession and betrayal, this is the most extraordinary work of imagination you'll read all year' ADAM JOHNSON, Winner of the PULITZER Prize for Fiction

'Erudite, intriguing and compulsively readable, Susan Barker, a born story-teller, has written one of the most remarkable novels of recent years' JOHN BOYNE

'A brilliant, mind-expanding, and wildly original novel' CHRIS CLEAVE

'A hallucinatory ride. Highly recommend' ANNA HOPE

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