‘One of the masters of modern Chinese literature’ Jung Chang
This gripping dystopia contrasts the reality of life in China today with the sunny optimism of the ‘Chinese dream’.
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. Until 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 bright ‘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
A winner of the Kafka Prize and a frequently cited contender for the Nobel, Yan is one of those rare geniuses who finds in the peculiar absurdities of his own culture the absurdities that infect all cultures
Yan Lianke, one of the most important literary interpreters of contemporary China, combines shocking satire and sharp imagery to address the moral vacuum at the heart of the country's extraordinary transformation
Yan Lianke's powerful dystopian novel, narrated by a teenage boy, is set during a single night in a remote Chinese village... The underlying political message, that China is sleepwalking to disaster under President Xi Ping, could hardly be plainer... But there is so much colour in the book, as the sleepwalkers act more and more oddly, that politics seems secondary. Poignant and unsettling
Masterful...a brave and unforgettable novel, full of tragic poise and political resonance, masterfully shifting between genres and ways of storytelling, exploring the ways in which history and memory are resurrected, how dark, private desires seep or flood out
A remarkable novel – open, like most good novels, to a variety of interpretations. The events described are incredible; the atmosphere all too believable