Three Brothers (Hardcover)
Memories of My Family
Grove Press, 9780802148087, 304pp.
Publication Date: March 10, 2020
List Price: 26.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.
In this heartfelt, intimate memoir, Yan Lianke brings the reader into his childhood home in Song County in Henan Province, painting a vivid portrait of rural China in the 1960s and '70s and chronicling the extraordinary lives of Yan Lianke's father and uncles, as well as his own. Yan's parents are so poor that they can only afford to use wheat flour on New Year and festival days, and as a child he dreams of fried scallion buns, and once steals from his father to buy a sesame seed cake. Yan yearns to leave the village, however he can, and soon novels become an escape. He resolves to become a writer himself after reading on the back of a novel that its author was given leave to remain in the city of Harbin after publishing her book. In the evenings, after finishing back-breaking shifts hauling stones at a cement factory, sometimes sixteen hours long, he sets to work writing. A career in the Army ultimately allows Yan to escape village life, but he is filled with regrets as he recalls these years of scarcity, turmoil, and poverty. A powerful portrait of the trials of daily life, as well as a philosophical meditation on grief, death, home, and fate, and gleaming throughout with Yan's quick wit and gift for imagery, Three Brothers is a personal portrait of a politically devastating period, and a celebration of the power of the family to hold together even in the harshest circumstances.