In this epic family history, Xiaobin portrays women across five generations with Yu(feather) as the central character whose life story is weaved through the lives of her grandmother, mother, sisters and niece. After committing two unforgivable sins, Yu is sent away from her parents to live with a woman named Jinwu but is soon abandoned by her as well. Yu hopes to redeem herself from her 'original sins' and gain forgiveness from her mother. Her life is a quest for love, fragile but resilient, lonely but determined. One of the foremost works of Chinese fiction literature of the 20th century,Feathered Serpentsatirizes and criticizes the totalitarian regime of Chinese Communism. To avoid and survive the fierce government censorship that governs all publications in the People's Republic of China, Xu Xiaobin masterfully created an atmosphere where the distinction between past and present is blurred; memories of previous and present lives are intertwined; and realities and illusions are fused.
Xu Xiaobin, born in 1953 into an intellectual family in Beijing, is a member of the China's Writers Association. She spent nine years in the countryside and at a factory during the Cultural Revolution until 1978 when she entered the Chinese University of Central Finance just after universities had reopened and entrance examinations were held nation wide. She began publishing her writings in 1981. Currently she works as a staff screenplay writer at China's Television Production Center. She has published numerous fictions, novellas and collections of prose. John Howard-Gibbon is a world renowned translator and Chinese literature scholar. Until recently he held the position of deputy-editor-in-chief of China Daily which is the largest and most authoritative English -language newspaper in China. He has translated many works from Chinese, notably Lao She's Teahouse and Chen Ran's A Private Life. Joanne Wang earned a BA in English literature from Shanghai; a MA in history inNew York. She has worked as a freelance translator for more than ten years, in addition to having worked in publishing for a number of years and starting her own literary agency with a strong focus on Chinese writers.