Books

The Day the Sun Died

Yan Lianke

The reality of life in China today contrasts with the sunny optimism of the 'Chinese dream' in this gripping, gruesome dystopia from 'one of the masters of modern Chinese literature' (Jung Chang)

One dusk in early June, in a town deep in the Balou mountains, fourteen-year-old Li Niannian notices that something strange is going on. As the residents would usually be settling down for the night, instead they start appearing in the streets and fields. There are people everywhere.

Li Niannian watches, mystified. But then he realises the people are dreamwalking, carrying on with their daily business as if the sun hadn’t already gone down. And before too long, as more and more people succumb, in the black of night all hell breaks loose.

Set over the course of one night, The Day the Sun Died pits chaos and darkness against the sunny optimism of the ‘Chinese dream’ promoted by President Xi Jinping. We are thrown into the middle of an increasingly strange and troubling waking nightmare as Li Niannian and his father struggle to save the town, and persuade the beneficent sun to rise again.

Praise for Yan Lianke's books

‘Nothing short of a masterpiece’ Guardian

‘A hyper-real tour de force, a blistering condemnation of political corruption and excess’ Financial Times

‘Mordant satire from a brave fabulist’ Daily Mail

‘Exuberant and imaginative’ Sunday Times

‘I can think of few better novelists than Yan, with his superlative gifts for storytelling and penetrating eye for truth’ New York Times Book Review

The Years, Months, Days

Yan Lianke

A terrible drought hits the population of a small mountain village and they flee to better climes. Incapable of marching for days, one old man and his blind dog stay behind, keeping watch over his single ear of corn. Every day is a victory over death.

The Years, Months, Days is a universal story, an homage to all that is good in mankind. A bestseller in China and now available in English for the first time, this is a powerful, moving fable by ‘one of China’s greatest living authors’ (Guardian).

The Explosion Chronicles

Yan Lianke

LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL 2017

With the Yi River on one side and the Balou Mountains on the other, the village of Explosion was founded a thousand years ago by refugees fleeing a volcanic eruption. But in the post-Mao era, the name takes on a new significance as the rural community grows explosively from a small village to a town to a city to a vast megalopolis.

Behind this rapid expansion are three rival clans linked together by a web of ambition, madness and greed. Together they transform their hometown into a Babylon of modern times -- an unrivalled urban superpower built on lies, sex and thievery.

'One of the masters of modern Chinese literature' Jung Chang

The Four Books

Yan Lianke

SHORTLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE 2016

'One of China's greatest living authors and fiercest satirists' Guardian

In the ninety-ninth district of a sprawling labour camp, the Author, Musician, Scholar, Theologian and Technician - and hundreds just like them - are undergoing Re-education, to restore their revolutionary zeal and credentials. In charge of this process is the Child, who delights in draconian rules, monitoring behaviour and confiscating treasured books.

But when bad weather arrives, followed by the ‘three bitter years’, the intellectuals are abandoned by the regime and left on their own to survive. Divided into four narratives, The Four Books tells the story of the Great Famine, one of China’s most devastating and controversial periods.

WINNER OF THE FRANZ KAFKA PRIZE 2014
NOMINATED FOR CZECH AWARD MAGNESIA LITERA 2014
HUA ZHONG WORLD CHINESE LITERATURE PRIZE 2013
FINALIST FOR THE MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE 2013
WINNER OF THE HUA ZHONG WORLD CHINESE LITERATURE PRIZE 2013
SHORTLISTED FOR THE INDEPENDENT FOREIGN FICTION PRIZE 2012
SHORTLISTED FOR THE PRIX FEMINA ETRANGER 2012
SHORTLISTED FOR THE MAN ASIAN LITERARY PRIZE 2011
WINNER OF THE LAO SHE LITERATURE AWARD 2004
WINNER OF THE LU XUN AWARD 1997

Lenin's Kisses

Yan Lianke (and others)

A FINALIST FOR THE MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE

Deep within the Balou mountains lies a small rural town populated by disabled people. Blind, deaf and disfigured, the 197 citizens of the Village of Liven have until now enjoyed a peaceful, mutually supportive life out of sight and mind of the government. But when an unseasonal snowstorm wipes out that year’s crops, a county official dreams up a scheme that will raise money for the district and boost his career.

He convinces the villagers to set up a travelling freak-show, to include Blind Tonghua’s Acute Listening Act and Deafman Ma’s Firecrackers-on-the-Ear. With the money, he intends to buy Lenin’s embalmed corpse from an ailing Russia and install it in a splendid mausoleum in the mountains to attract tourism to this sleepy district. However, as we all know, even the best intentions can go awry.

Biography

Yan Lianke was born in 1958 in Henan Province, China. He is the author of numerous novels and short-story collections, including Serve the People!, Dream of Ding Village, Lenin's Kisses, The Four Books and The Explosion Chronicles. He has been awarded the Hua Zhong World Chinese Literature Prize, the Lao She Literary Award, the Dream of the Red Chamber Award and the Franz Kafka Prize. He has also been shortlisted for an array of prizes including the International Man Booker Prize, the Principe de Asturias Prize for Letters, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, the FT/Oppenheimer Fund Emerging Voices Award and the Prix Femina Etranger. The Day the Sun Died won the Dream of the Red Chamber Award for the World's Most Distinguished Novel in Chinese. He lives and writes in Beijing.