Dream of Ding Village

(Ding Zhuang Meng)

Yan Lianke

Now a feature film starring Zhang Ziyi, Directed by Changwei Gu.
Shortlisted for The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2012
Shortlisted for The Man Asian Literary Prize 2011

Banned in China.

Dream of Ding Village

‘This was a novel that gained warm and vigorous support throughout the judging process. It tells a dramatic, lyrical, courageous and in the end heart-breaking story of modern China and the people who have to cope with its bewildering transformations. So we wished to give a special commendation to Dream of Ding Village by Yan Lianke, translated by Cindy Carter. We recommend it fervently.’ Boyd Tonkin, Head of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize Jury

‘The defining work of his career; not just an elegantly crafted piece of literature but a devastating critique of China’s runaway development.’ Jonathan Watts, Guardian

Officially censored upon its original Chinese publication, Dream of Ding Village is Chinese novelist Yan Lianke’s most important novel to date. Set in a poor village in Henan Province, it is a deeply moving and beautifully written account of a blood-selling scandal in contemporary China.

As the book opens, Ding Village’s town directors, looking for a way to lift their village from poverty, decide to open a dozen blood-plasma collection stations. The directors hope to drain the townspeople of their blood and sell it to the villages near and far. Although the citizens prosper in the short run, the rampant blood selling leads to an outbreak of AIDS and a huge loss of life. Based on a real-life blood-selling scandal in eastern China, Dream of Ding Village is the result of three years of undercover work by Yan Lianke, who was an assistant to a well-known Beijing anthropologist studying a small village decimated by HIV/AIDS as a result of unregulated blood selling.

Dream of Ding Village focuses on one village, and the story of one family, destroyed when one son rises to the top of the Party pile as he exploits the situation, while another is infected and dies. The result is a passionate and steely critique of the rate at which China is developing- and what happens to those who get in the way.

‘A brave, dark and poetic account of modern Chinese malaise… Yan Lianke proves himself not only as a writer of political vision, but also one with a unique narrative voice… Yan Lianke’s true story based prose combines an oral storytelling tradition with daring experiment – something rare in contemporary Chinese literature. I urge anyone interested in modern China to read this book.’ Xiaolu Guo, author of A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary For Lovers

‘Lianke’s brazen, unflinching portrayal of a community in the throes of collapse makes for a brilliant and harrowing novel.’ Publisher’s Weekly

‘His lyricism of despair, full of frenzied life, even when there is foam on lips, gives this novel of Yan Lianke it’s atrocious grace.’ Le Monde

‘Yan Lianke denounces an alarming situation… his novel is a true revelation.’ Rolling Stone

‘A sorrowful but captivating novel about the price of progress in modern China. The book, which was censored in that country, builds to an act of violence that resonates with the impact of Greek tragedy or Shakespearean drama.’ Kirkus Reviews

‘a revealing mirror of Chinese society… A tender story that cuts to the bone.’ Transfuge

‘Appearing in English at last, the banned Chinese novel Dream of Ding Village, by Yan Lianke is a furious satire of capitalism and corruption’ Guardian

‘The novel is gripping, swift, heartfelt, occasionally exhilarating and often surprising, due in large part to the book’s two big aces: the charming, naïve narrative voice of the dead boy and the dynamic, larger-than-life figure of grandpa, the central character and the only morally grounded citizen of Ding Village.’ Shelf Awareness

‘Yan is clearly making a statement about the personal and spiritual prices paid for China’s runaway development.’ Lionel Shriver

‘It reads like a fable, unmoored from time… Yan’s prose amply captures his outrage. Above all, it offers a window into a world American readers rarely see — in which, for example, AIDS sufferers defy death by boasting of how many steamed buns they can eat. In the end Dream of Ding Village works both as a horrifying social critique and, strange to say, as a perversely gripping Gothic tale. This novel delivers not only a front-lines message from Henan Province but also news of Yan Lianke’s skill as a messenger.’ Boston Globe

‘Dream of Ding Village paints a riveting and disturbing portrait of village life in the grip of epidemic… Dream of Ding Village is powerful and peerless.’ Sydney Morning Herald

‘A powerful look at the AIDS scandal in Henan Province during the 1990s… Communist ideals battle against capitalistic impulses and human nature in this grand, layered novel, a must-read for anyone interested in present-day China.’ Booklist Online

‘Officially censored upon its Chinese publication, and the subject of a bitter lawsuit between author and publisher, Dream of Ding Village is Chinese novelist Yan Lianke’s most important novel to date… Based on a real-life blood-selling scandal in eastern China, Dream of Ding Village is the result of three years of undercover work by Yan Lianke, who worked as an assistant to a well-known Beijing anthropologist in an effort to study a small village decimated by HIV/AIDS as a result of unregulated blood selling… The result is a passionate and steely critique of the rate at which China is developing–and what happens to those who get in the way.’ Goodreads.com

‘What a dilemma Yan Lianke must pose to his government. He’s one of China’s most celebrated writers, and among its most censored… Lianke, a native of Henan Province, plays with farce and satire and allegory as he spins his dark tale. His description of what has been lost is as mesmerizing as his critique of those to blame is merciless.’ Barnes & Noble

‘A powerful and shocking piece of work’ The Big Issue

‘One of the most prolific and bravest authors to come from China, brings us a disturbing chronicle of one village’s deterioration caused by ‘the spreading fever’ Guardian

Sales

  • Constable UK
  • Editions Philippe Picquier France
  • Text Australia & New Zealand
  • Editora Record Brazil
  • Font Forlag Norway
  • Grove Atlantic USA
  • Nottetempo Italy
  • Tiderne Skifter Denmark
  • Automatica Editorial Spain & Latin America
  • Atlantis/Natur och Kultur Sweden
  • Editura Allfa Romania
  • Kawade Shobo Japan
  • Editorial Males Herbes Spain (Catalan)
  • Rye Field Taiwan
  • ASIA Publishers Korea
  • Taodanbooks Vietnam
  • Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy Poland
  • Matthes & Seitz Berlin Germany
  • Sindbad Russia
  • Taktaa Mongolia

Material: many editions including Chinese, French and English editions (341pp)