Atmospheric and compelling, this latest novel from Chinese bestselling author Su Tong tells of a former playboy with a young son who is banished to live on a river barge after being reported to the authortites by his wife for salacious behavior. In the haunting silence of the river he becomes so ashamed of his earlier bad boy lifestyle that he castrates himself and jumps into the river. When a young orphan girl comes to live with them on the barge, she becomes the object of a dangerous obsession. Set amidst the fear and close surveillance of the Cultural Revolution, this dark and disturbing novel plays unscrupulously with our emotions.
Born in 1963 in Suzhou and now living in Beijing with his family, Su Tong is one of China's most celebrated bestselling authors, shooting to international fame in 1993 when Zhang Yimou's film of his novella Raise the Red Lantern was nominated for an Oscar. His first short story collection, Madwoman on the Bridge was published by Black Swan in 2008. Translator Howard Goldblatt is Research Professor at the University of Notre Dame. The recipient of two translation fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, he has translated more than forty novels and story collections from China and Taiwan into English. His translations have received the Translation of the Year Prize from the American Literary Translators Association (Notes of a Desolate Man by Chu T'ien-wen; Sylvia Li-chun Lin, co-tr., 1999) and the Man Asian Literary Prize (Wolf Totem by Jiang Rong, 2007).