WINNER OF AN ENGLISH PEN AWARD
Rao Pingru was a twenty-six-year-old soldier when he first saw the beautiful Mao Meitang. One glimpse of her through a window as she put on lipstick was enough to capture Pingru’s heart. It was a moment that sparked a union that would last almost sixty years.
But when Meitang passed away in 2008, Pingru realised that their marriage and all the small moments and memories of a life together, would be lost to history. And so at the age of eighty-eight, in an outpouring of love and grief, Pingru began to paint.
Our Story is a memorial to Pingru and Meitang’s epic romance, told through Pingru’s exquisitely detailed paintings and handwritten notes. We see Pingru and Meitang through the decades, through both poverty and good fortune, and as they grow so too does China: the nation undergoing political turmoil and seismic cultural change.
A tale both tragic and inspiring, of enduring love and simple values, Our Story is an old-fashioned romance that unfolds within the rush of a rapidly changing nation. A love letter, a work of folk art and a historical testament, Our Story is a truly unique graphic memoir.
SEX, LIES, AND ROCKY ROADS …
Life is simple for Champa. He has a good job as a chauffeur in his hometown of Lhasa, and if his Chinese boss Plum is a little domineering, well, he can understand that – she’s a serious art-collector after all. And he does get to drive her huge Toyota.
When he starts to sleep with his boss as well as drive her around, life becomes a whole lot more complicated. But not in a bad way. Suddenly Champa’s sex life is beyond his wildest dreams.
But then Plum brings home a Tara statue - a statue that shines with exquisite feminine beauty – and suddenly life is not simple at all, as Champa finds himself on the long road to Beijing in search of its inspiration …
THE UNBEARABLE DREAMWORLD OF CHAMPA THE DRIVER is a rollicking road novel brim-ful of sensuality and danger. Underlying the optimism and humour of its hero is a darker picture of racism and rough justice in modern Beijing.
December 1937. The Japanese have taken Nanking. A group of terrified schoolgirls hides in the compound of an American church. Among them is Shujuan, through whose thirteen-year-old eyes we witness the shocking events that follow.
Run by Father Engelmann, an American priest who has been in China for many years, the church is supposedly neutral ground in the war between China and Japan. But it becomes clear the Japanese are not obeying international rules of engagement. As they pour through the streets of Nanking, raping and pillaging the civilian population, the girls are in increasing danger. And their safety is further compromised when prostitutes from the nearby brothel climb over the wall into the compound seeking refuge.
Short, powerful, vivid, this beautiful novel transports the reader to 1930s China. Full of wonderful characters, from the austere priest to the irreverent prostitutes, it is a story about how war upsets all prejudices and how love can flourish amidst death.
Ten chapters, ten women and many stories of heartbreak, including her own: Xinran once again takes us right into the lives of Chinese women and their lost daughters. Whether as a consequence of the single-child policy, destructive age-old traditions or hideous economic necessity, these women had to give up their daughters for adoption, others were forced to abandon them - on city streets, outside hospitals, orphanages or on station platforms - and others even had to watch their baby daughters being taken away at birth, and drowned.
Personal, immediate, full of sorrow but also full of hope, this books sends a heart-rending message to Chinese girls who have been adopted to show them how things really were for their mothers, and to tell them they were loved and will never be forgotten.