Publication Date: 05/03/2020 ISBN: 9781784743154 Category:

Three Brothers

Yan Lianke

Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publication Date: 05/03/2020 ISBN: 9781784743154 Category:




In this heartfelt memoir, Yan Lianke brings the reader into his boyhood home in Song County, Henan Province, painting a richly detailed portrait of rural China during the Cultural Revolution

It is a hard but loving childhood. Yan’s family carve out a modest existence, though food is often so scarce they have to find edible bark and clay for sustenance. Working sixteen-hour shifts in a quarry, Yan’s hands become as crooked as twigs, but the satisfaction of hard physical labour and earning money to support his family proves intoxicating. Reading novels is an escape for Yan, and he yearns to become a writer after hearing about a woman who was allowed to remain in the city of Harbin after publishing her first novel.

Caught between his obligations as a son and a brother, and his longing for a new life, Yan eventually joins the army. He returns years later to find his father’s health rapidly deteriorating in the face of his desperate efforts to build a traditional tile-roofed house for each of his sons.

Chronicling the extraordinary lives of his father and two uncles, as well as his own, Three Brothers is a celebration of the power of one family to hold together in the most punishing of circumstances. Sharply alive to the cyclical nature of history, and the power of familial guilt, it also shows how the pen can be a route to freedom.

Publisher Review

One of China's most loved writers -- Isabel Hilton * Financial Times * Yan is one of those rare geniuses who finds in the peculiar absurdities of his own culture the absurdities that infect all cultures * Washington Post * Fierce, funny, painful and playful...a great Chinese writer -- Amos Oz The work of the Chinese author Yan Lianke reminds us that free expression is always in contention - to write is to risk the hand of power * Guardian * Yan depicts his provincial relatives with enormous heart and respect, acknowledging their sacrifices in a dark yet poignant meditation on grief and death... A memoir steeped in metaphor and ultimately tremendously moving. * Kirkus * One of the masters of modern Chinese literature -- Jung Chang Yan's heart remains firmly with the patient and stoic people who scratch a living from the soil, year after year, and for whom family is everything. It is an elegiac tribute to his father's generation -- Isabel Hilton * Financial Times * Full of love, sorrow, and tenderness, Yan Lianke's memoir offers a deeply heartfelt account of his family in the 1960s and 70s. Three Brothers is a must read for anyone who wants to understand post-Mao China and a new opportunity to experience more of what this extraordinary author conveys to us with his vivid and poetic style -- Xiaolu Guo

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