The Ancient Ship
By Wei Zhang
(Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780061436901, 464pp.)
Publication Date: September 2008
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Originally published in 1987, two years before the Tiananmen Square protests, Zhang Wei's award-winning novel is the story of three generations of the Sui, Zhao, and Li families living in the fictional northern town of Wali during China's troubled postliberation years.
Spanning four decades following the creation of the People's Republic in 1949, The Ancient Ship is a bold examination of a society in turmoil, the struggle of oppressed people to control their own fate, and the clash between tradition and modernization. In the course of the narrative, the townspeople of Wali face the moments that have defined China's history during the latter part of the twentieth century: the land reform programs, the famine of 1959-1961, the Great Leap Forward, the Anti-Rightist Campaign, and the Cultural Revolution. Translated into English for the very first time, The Ancient Ship is a revolutionary work of Chinese fiction that speaks to people across the globe.
Zhang Wei is a member of the Chinese Writers Association, an organization for which he has served as the vice-chairman of the Shandong branch. He is one of the most widely respected fiction writers of the post-Mao era, and he lives in Beijing.