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Over the last decade, Yan Lianke has been continually heralded as one of the "best contemporary Chinese writers" (The Independent
) and "one of the country's fiercest satirists" (The Guardian
). Among many awards and honors, he has been twice a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize and he was awarded the prestigious Franz Kafka Prize for his impressive body of work. Now, for the first time, his two most acclaimed novellas are being published in English.
"Timeless" and "marvelous" (Asian Review of Books
is a haunting story of a widow who goes to extremes to provide a normal life for her four physically and mentally disabled children. When she finds out that bones "the closer from kin the better" can cure their illnesses and prevent future generations from the same fate, she feeds them a medicinal soup made from the bones of her dead husband. But after running out of bones, she resorts to a measure that only a mother can take.
A luminous, moving fable, The Years, Months, Days
--a bestselling classic in China and winner of the prestigious Lu Xun Literary Prize--tells of an elderly man who stays in his small village after a terrible drought forces everyone to leave. Unable to make the grueling march through the mountains, he becomes the lone inhabitant, along with a blind dog. Tending to a single ear of corn, and fending off the natural world from overtaking the village, every day is a victory over death.
With touches of the fantastical, these two novellas--masterpieces of the form--reflect the universality of mankind's will to live, live well, and live with purpose.