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

  • Vintage Digital
  • Published 2nd March 2017
  • 480 Pages