From the daring imagination of one of China's greatest living novelists comes a work of startling power and originality-the story of a young man "displaced" to a small village in rural China during the 1960s. Told in the format of a dictionary, with a series of vignettes disguised as entries, A Dictionary of Maqiao is a novel of bold invention-and a fascinating, comic, deeply moving journey through the dark heart of the Cultural Revolution. Entries trace the wisdom and absurdities of Maqiao: the petty squabbles, family grudges, poverty, infidelities, fantasies, lunatics, bullies, superstitions, and especially the odd logic in their use of language-where the word for "beginning" is the same as the word for "end"; "little big brother" means older sister; to be "scientific" means to be lazy; and "streetsickness" is a disease afflicting villagers visiting urban areas. Filled with colorful characters-from a weeping ox to a man so poisonous that snakes die when they bite him-A Dictionary of Maqiao is both an important work of Chinese literature and a probing inquiry into the extraordinary power of language.
About the Author
Han Shaogong is an award-winning novelist, essayist, and translator. He is also the former editor of the magazines Hainan Review and Frontiers and is the vice-chairman of the Hainan Writer's Association. Julia Lovell is a translator of modern Chinese literature and a research fellow at Queen's College, Cambridge.