Peach Blossom Paradise

Ge Fei (Author) Canaan Morse (Translator)
Pre-Order   Ships Dec 01, 2020


A meditation on revolution, idealism, and utopia by one of China's greatest living novelists.

In 1898, China experienced one hundred days of utopia after a cabal of reformist intellectuals persuaded the young emperor to enact sweeping changes intended to modernize the country and bring about the Great Unity. Their movement ended in blood and the crowning of two more dictators, but not before it whetted an appetite for revolution all across the country--an appetite that would eventually consume millions of lives.

One such life belongs to Xiumi, the young daughter of a wealthy landowner and former government official who goes insane over a painting, then mysteriously disappears. Days later, Xiumi's mother welcomes to the estate a young man who carries a grand but brutal vision in his heart and a gold cicada in his pocket. When his plans collapse, Xiumi inherits his vision, just as she herself begins fighting the Confucian social mores that view women as property. On her wedding day, she becomes a pawn in a series of violent transactions carried out by men who think they are building paradise; as each one fails, she attempts to repay them in kind by spearheading a movement of her own. Her campaign for change is always a fight to win control of her own body, and the cost of even that is nearly total.

Ge Fei's prizewinning novel intertwines myths of earthly perfection with a historical tale of revolution and hypocrisy, in which human agency must either be bartered for or be taken by force.

Product Details

$17.95  $16.51
New York Review of Books
Publish Date
December 01, 2020

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About the Author

Ge Fei is the pen name of Liu Yong. One of China's most famous living novelists, he spearheaded the avant-garde literary movement before turning to historical fiction and macabre realism. He is most famous for his South of the Yangtze trilogy, which includes Peach Blossom Paradise, I Dream of Mountains and Rivers, and Spring Ends in Jiangnan, and for which he won the 2015 Mao Dun Literature Prize.

Canaan Morse is a translator and poet. His translation of Ge Fei's The Invisibility Cloak won the 2014 Susan Sontag Prize for Translation. He is currently pursuing a PhD in ancient Chinese performance literature at Harvard University.