Set on the eve of the Sino-Japanese war, Fortress Besieged recounts the exuberant misadventures of the hapless hero Fang Hung-chien, who after aimlessly studying in Europe at his family's expense returns to Shanghai armed with a bogus degree from a fake university. On the liner back, Fang's life becomes deeply entangled with those of two Chinese beauties - while when he does finally make it home, he obtains a teaching post at a newly established university, encounters effete pseudo-intellectuals, and falls into a marriage of disastrous proportions. A glorious tale of love, marriage, war, calamity, disillusionment and hope, this is one of the greatest Chinese novels: combining Eastern philosophy, Western traditions, adventure, tragicomedy and satire to create a unique feast of delights.
Qian Zhongshu (1910-1998) was a novelist, poet, man of letters and one of China's most outstanding scholars and was seen by many in his country as the last link in an unbroken chain of geniuses stretching back to Confucius.
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