Publication Date: January 12, 2010
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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A bestseller in China, Brothers is an epic and wildly unhinged black comedy of modern Chinese society running amok.
Here is China as we've never seen it before, in a sweeping, Rabelaisian panorama of forty years of rough-and-rumble Chinese history, from the madness of the Cultural Revolution to the equally rabid madness of extreme materialism. Yu Hua, award-winning author of To Live, gives us a surreal tale of two comically mismatched stepbrothers, Baldy Li, a sex-obsessed ne'er-do-well, and the bookish, sensitive Song Gang, who vow that they will always be brothers—a bond they will struggle to maintain over the years as they weather the ups and downs of rivalry in love and making and losing millions in the new China.
Both tragic and absurd by turns, Brothers is a fascinating vision of an extraordinary place and time.
Yu Hua was born in 1960 in Zhejiang, China. He finished high school during the Cultural Revolution and worked as a dentist for five years before beginning to write in 1983. He has published four novels, six collections of stories, and three essays collections. His work has been translated into French, German, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Japanese, and Korean. In 2002 Yu Hua became the first Chinese writer to win the prestigious James Joyce Foundation Award. His novel To Live was awarded Italy’s Premio Grinzane Cavour in 1998, and To Live and Chronicle of a Blood Merchant were named two of the last decade’s ten most influential books in China. Yu Hua lives in Beijing.
“Sensational, sweeping. . . . tremendous. . . . In recognition of this terrific literary achievement, I think that, instead of the Year of the Ox, this should be the Year of Yu Hua.” —Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air
“Impressive . . . a family history documenting four decades of profound social and cultural transformation in China. . . . [and] an irreverent take on everything from the Cultural Revolution to the capitalist boom. . . . [A] relentlessly entertaining epic.” —The New Yorker
“Portraits of contemporary China are rarely sharper or more savage.” —Time
“[A] great literary achievement. . . . A sprawling, bawdy epic that crackles with life's joys, sorrows, and misadventures.” —The Boston Globe
“This new English translation of Brothers excellently captures its beauty and high farce.” —Time
“Waggish but merciless. . . . A consistently and terrifically funny read.” —Los Angeles Times
“A work of rare scope and grandeur. . . . [Yu Hua’s] sharply unadorned language is all his own, carrying a ripe and pungent tone. . . . This is the epic as plain-spoken brawl, one with blood on its face, a tear in the eye, and a grin on the lips. 10 out of 10 stars.” —Pop Matters
“For their translation Eileen Cheng-yin Chow and Carlos Rojas receive high marks, giving their narrator a consistent voice with palpable wit and visible verve, shortening Yu Hua’s sentences to fit English expectations but maintaining fidelity to the length and pace of his clauses, the real seat of an author’s prose style.” —Rain Taxi Review of Books
“Yu Hua’s epic novel—a bestseller in his native China—is a tale of ribaldry, farce and bloody revolution, a dramatic panorama of human vulgarity. . . . at once hyperrealist and phantasmagorical. . . . We can see a true picture of the country refracted in this funhouse mirror.” —The Washington Post
“Vigorous and racy. . . . This widely-ranging and ironic portrait of modern China evokes the very feel of the place, with its popular Korean TV soaps, Eternity bicycles, factory labor, Big White Rabbit candies, neon lights and raucous music. . . . A major achievement by any standard.” —Taipei Times