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An essential masterwork from Chinese literary giant Lu Yao—winner of the Mao Dun Literature Prize—available for the first time in English.
Lu Yao published only two novels before his untimely death—but their extraordinary influence catapulted the author to the top tier of Chinese contemporary fiction, establishing him as one of the most widely read and respected figures in Chinese literature.
In this first-ever translation of Lu Yao’s Life, we meet Gao Jialin, a stubborn, idealistic, and ambitious young man from a small country village whose life is upended when corrupt local politics cost him his beloved job as a schoolteacher, prompting him to reject rural life and try to make it in the big city. Against the vivid, gritty backdrop of 1980s China, Lu Yao traces the proud and passionate Gao Jialin’s difficult path to professional, romantic, and personal fulfillment—or at least hard-won acceptance.
With the emotional acuity and narrative mastery that secured his reputation as one of China’s great novelists, Lu Yao paints a vivid, emotional, and unsparing portrait of contemporary Chinese life, seen through the eyes of a working-class man who refuses to be broken.