From the daring imagination of one of China's greatest living novelists comes a work of startling power and originality the story of a young man displaced to a small village in rural China during the 1960s. Told in the format of a dictionary, with a series of vignettes disguised as entries, A Dictionary of Maqiao is a novel of bold invention and a fascinating, comic, deeply moving journey through the dark heart of the Cultural Revolution.
Entries trace the wisdom and absurdities of Maqiao: the petty squabbles, family grudges, poverty, infidelities, fantasies, lunatics, bullies, superstitions, and especially the odd logic in their use of language where the word for beginning is the same as the word for end; little big brother means older sister; to be scientific means to be lazy; and streetsickness is a disease afflicting villagers visiting urban areas. Filled with colorful characters from a weeping ox to a man so poisonous that snakes die when they bite him A Dictionary of Maqiao is both an important work of Chinese literature and a probing inquiry into the extraordinary power of language.
About the Author
Han Shaogong is an award-winning novelist, essayist, and translator. He is also the former editor of the magazines Hainan Review and Frontiers and is the vice-chairman of the Hainan Writer's Association. Julia Lovell is a translator of modern Chinese literature and a research fellow at Queen's College, Cambridge.