Yan Lianke's most powerful novel yet. Reminiscent of A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and Darkness at Noon, Yan's mythical tale portrays the grotesque persecution during the Great Leap Forward.
In the ninety-ninth district of a labour camp, the Author, Musician, Scholar, Theologian and Technician undergo re-education, to restore their revolutionary zeal. In charge of this process is the Child, who delights in enforcing draconian rules.
The Four Books tells the story of one of China's most controversial periods. It also reveals the power of camaraderie, love and faith against oppression in the darkest possible times.
the Lu Xan Prize and the Lao She Award. In 2014, he won the Franz Kafka Prize. He lives in Bejing.
'Author Yan's deft satire, comic touches and his endless compassion bring smiles and tears through a journey that swings effortlessly back and forward between the absurd, the real and moments of magic. It is an epic tale of how grand, event if well-meant, plans can be tarnished by greed and unhappiness. It cautions against being consumed by power. Here is a splendid storyteller in the tradition of Jonathan Swift. Yan's writing is masterful, his imagination and his satire soars above the common.'
'Yan's postmodern cartoon of the Communist dream caving to run-amok capitalism is fiendishly clever, in parodying the conventions of fables and historical scholarship. The ghost of another famous dead Russian, Nikolai Gogol, hovers over the proceedings in spirit, if not in economy of means.' New York Times
'Yan at the peak of his absurdist powers. He writes in the spirit of the dissident writer Vladimir Voinovich, who observed that "reality and satire are the same".' New Yorker
'Whimsical and horrifying by turns...a no-holds-barred satirical allegory of recent Chinese history.' Listener, NZ
'Yan Lianke weaves a passionate satire of today's China, a marvellous circus where the one-eyed-man is king...Brutal. And wickedly funny.' L'Express
'Set Rabelais down in the mountains of, say, Xinjiang, mix in some G?nter Grass, Thomas Pynchon and Gabriel Garc?a M?rquez, and you're in the approximate territory of Lianke's latest exercise in ?patering the powers that be...A satirical masterpiece.' Kirkus
'Both a blistering satire and a bruising saga, this epic novel examines the grinding forces of communism and capitalism, and the volatile zone where the two intersect...A heartbreaking story of greed, corruption, and the dangers of utopia.' Publishers Weekly
'This epic tragicomedy deftly satirises the exploitation of the Chinese people by greedy, power-hungry and inept officials. Yan Lianke showcases many talents of his own, including brilliant absurdist humour and self-censorship.' North and South, NZ
'For once, the hype doesn't go far enough...a devastating, brilliant slice of history.' Times
'Woven together, these "texts" reflect the catastrophe of the times and meditate on the meaning of integrity, truth, love and ethics when confronted with horror...[Lianke] has produced an extraordinary novel.' Guardian
'A compelling account of the absurdities of the tragedy that killed an estimated 30 million people.' North and South