Stories of the Sahara
Sanmao, Mike Fu
The book that has captivated millions of Chinese readers, translated into English for the very first time.
‘Hypnotic . . . A record of one person’s fierce refusal to follow a path laid down for her by the rest of the world’ Tash Aw, Paris Review Books of the Year
Sanmao: author, adventurer, pioneer. Born in China in 1943, she moved from Chongqing to Taiwan, Spain to Germany, the Canary Islands to Central America, and, for several years in the 1970s, to the Sahara.
Stories of the Sahara invites us into Sanmao’s extraordinary life in the desert: her experiences of love and loss, freedom and peril, all told with a voice as spirited as it is timeless.
At a period when China was beginning to look beyond its borders, Sanmao fired the imagination of millions and inspired a new generation. With an introduction by Sharlene Teo, author of Ponti, this is an essential collection from one of the twentieth century’s most iconic figures.
‘Every story conveys Sanmao’s infectious capacity for wonder’ Sharlene Teo, author of Ponti
‘Has endured for generations of young Taiwanese and Chinese women’ New York Times
‘A remarkable and brave book. Sanmao was a freewheeling feminist who broke all the rules and did so with a gleeful, mischievous smile’ David Eimer, South China Morning Post
A role model far ahead of her time . . . Now, mainland-born and Taiwanese-raised Sanmao is taking her rightful place in the pantheon of female travel writers with the English-language publication of Stories of the Sahara . . . Her confessional style, which can be painfully honest but is always self-aware and shot through with humour, fits perfectly in the age of #MeToo, despite the book being written five decades earlier . . . Her candidness about her marriage and life, along with her love of challenging convention, explains why Sanmao has been a heroine for Chinese women . . . Sanmao deserves all the praise, even if it has been a long time coming -- David Eimer * South China Morning Post * Reading their stories on this rain-swept island, far from either Taiwan or the Sahara, what seduced me most was the combination of Sanmao's voice and her indomitable spirit - a spirit that manages to reconcile her dream to be "the first female explorer to cross the Sahara" with the reality of the grinding hardship of settled life in a wasteland * Spectator * Stories of the Sahara has endured for generations of young Taiwanese and Chinese women yearning for independence from conservative social norms ... Her prose, which oscillates between memoir and fiction, has a laconic elegance that echoes the Beat poets. It can also be breezy, a remarkable quality at a time when her homeland, Taiwan, was under martial law * New York Times * A hypnotic meditation on love and loneliness in a foreign place. Writing with frankness and vulnerability, Sanmao's constant questioning of her insecurities and flaws is remarkably human, and nothing remains beyond the boundaries of her probing eye . . . Mike Fu's gorgeous translation brings to live Sanmao's evocative descriptions of the Sahrawi communities in which she lives, along with her wit and her gift for capturing life's absurdities. Stories of the Sahara is a record of one person's fierce refusal to follow a path laid down for her by the rest of the world, but it is also a celebration of the complexities of being an outsider, and ultimately, an ode to freedom -- Tash Aw * Paris Review Books of the Year * Ground-breaking . . . Sanmao wrote breezily but she captured the complexities of 'learning the art of living here' . . . A compelling tale of someone who was enraptured but uneasy, and Sanmao's pluck is admirable -- Geographical Ground-breaking . . . Coloured by Sanmao's memories, this travelogue takes us from eye-opening experiences in desert bathhouses to divine rainstorms, while reminding us that adventures into the unknown are key * Wanderlust * Riveting reissue aged like a good wine . . . A valuable record * Irish Times * An enduring cultural icon and figure of quixotic fascination . . . Every story conveys Sanmao's infectious capacity for wonder -- Sharlene Teo, author of 'Ponti'
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