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A FINALIST FOR THE MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE
Deep within the Balou mountains lies a small rural town populated by disabled people. Blind, deaf and disfigured, ...
A FINALIST FOR THE MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE
Deep within the Balou mountains lies a small rural town populated by disabled people. Blind, deaf and disfigured, the 197 citizens of the Village of Liven have until now enjoyed a peaceful, mutually supportive life out of sight and mind of the government. But when an unseasonal snowstorm wipes out that year’s crops, a county official dreams up a scheme that will raise money for the district and boost his career.
He convinces the villagers to set up a travelling freak-show, to include Blind Tonghua’s Acute Listening Act and Deafman Ma’s Firecrackers-on-the-Ear. With the money, he intends to buy Lenin’s embalmed corpse from an ailing Russia and install it in a splendid mausoleum in the mountains to attract tourism to this sleepy district. However, as we all know, even the best intentions can go awry.
Winner of the Lao She Literary Award
* New York Times Editors' Choice
* New Yorker Best Book of 2012
* MacLeans Best Books of 2012
* Kirkus Best Fiction of 2012
"[An] epic jest of a novel . . . Yan’s postmodern cartoon of the Communist dream caving to run-amok capitalism is fiendishly clever." —New York Times Book Review
"Yan, one of China’s most successful writers, is still gaining attention abroad, but this story of a village that decides to buy Lenin’s corpse is 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.'" —The New Yorker
"Lenin’s Kisses wickedly satirizes a sycophantic society where money and power are indiscriminately worshiped." —Wall Street Journal
"A funny yet dark satirical novel . . . [that] offers Western readers a unique perspective on rural China . . . Lenin’s Kisses [is] hard to put down." —Chicago Tribune
"[A] complex, captivating masterpiece. . . . [Lianke] summons rare wonder: he manages to create a wretched, absurd and beautiful universe both brand-new and newly eternal." —Macleans
"Yan Lianke is one of the best contemporary Chinese writers. . . . As incisive as his social criticism is, he manages to protect his literary strength." —The Independent
"Sprawling, sometimes goofy, always seditious novel of modern life in the remotest corner of China . . . Set Rabelais down in the mountains of, say, Xinjiang, mix in some Günter Grass, Thomas Pynchon and Gabriel García Márquez, and you’re in the approximate territory of Lianke’s latest exercise in épatering the powers that be . . . A satirical masterpiece." —Kirkus Reviews
"[A] mind-blowing story . . . incorporating satire, social and political criticism of life under Chinese Communism, as well as the limitations of capitalism—especially when the formerly oppressed become filthy rich—under such a political system. Lenin’s Kisses provides illuminating insight." —Counterpunch
"Both a blistering satire and a bruising saga . . . Yan boldly plunges into the psychic gap between China’s decades-old conditioned response to communist doctrine and its redefinition of itself as a capitalist power, creating with bold, carnivalesque strokes a heartbreaking story of greed, corruption, and the dangers of utopia." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Lenin's Kisses is a grand comic novel, wild in spirit and inventive in technique. It's a rhapsody that blends the imaginary with the real, raves about the absurd and the truthful, inspires both laughter and tears. Carlos Rojas's translation captures the vigor of the original, funny, poised, peculiar but always rational. The publication of this magnificent work in English should be an occasion for celebration." —Ha Jin, author of Waiting and Nanjing Requiem
"A masterpiece on many levels, most pertinently literary. It is crafted in the most lyrical prose style, and in an intimate voice filled with poetic flourishes and narrative craftsmanship. This is a tale of modern China with all its wonders, marvels and absurdities and ironies roped together, making it a must-read. It's little wonder that the author has won both China's equivalences of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. And this book is the finest gem to reflect this man's gift." —Da Chen, author of My Last Empress
"Lenin's Kisses shines with both the lyrical flourishes of magical realism and the keenly sharpened knives of great satire. The reader joins the inhabitants of the village of Liven as they confront the great upheavals of 20th Century Chinese history armed with both whimsy and their obsessive determination to prevail. This tale is at once breathtaking and seriously funny. Anyone who wishes to understand the psychic world-view of the modern People's Republic of China must read this fine novel." —Vincent Lam, author of The Headmaster's Wager