Books

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. The four Kong brothers; Zhu Ying, the daughter of the former village chief; and Cheng Qing, who starts out as a secretary and goes on to become a powerful political and business figure in her own right, transform their hometown into a Babylon of modern times -- an unrivalled urban superpower built on lies, sex and thievery.

Brimming with absurdity, intelligence and wit, The Explosion Chronicles considers the high stakes of passion and power, the consequences of corruption and greed, the dynamics of love and hate, as well as the seemingly boundless excesses of capitalist culture.

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

'One of China’s most successful writers . . . [Yan Lianke] writes in the spirit of the dissident writer Vladimir Voinovich, who observed that "reality and satire are the same"' Evan Osnos, New Yorker

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 and The Four Books. He has been awarded the Hua Zhong World Chinese Literature Prize, the Lao She Literary Award and the Franz Kafka Prize, whose previous winners include Vaclav Havel, John Banville and Harold Pinter. He has also been shortlisted for an array of prizes including the International Man Booker Prize, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the Prix Femina Etranger. He currently lives and writes in Beijing.