Running Through Beijing (Paperback)
Chinese literature published in the United States has tended to focus on politics -- think the Cultural Revolution and dissidents -- but there's a whole other world of writing out there. It's punk, dealing with the harsh realities lived by the millions of city-dwellers struggling to get by in the grey economy. Dunhuahg, recently out of prison for selling fake IDs, has just enough money for a couple of meals. He also has no place to stay and no prospects for earning more yuan. When he happens to meet a pretty woman selling pirated DVDs, he falls into both an unexpected romance and a new business venture. But when her on-and-off boyfriend steps back into the picture, Dunhuahg is forced to make some tough decisions. Running Through Beijing explores an underworld of constant thievery, hardcore porn, cops (both real and impostors), prison bribery, rampant drinking, and the smothering, bone-dry dust storms that blanket one of the world's largest cities. Like a literary Run Lola Run, it follows a hustling hero rushing at breakneck speed to stay just one step ahead. Full of well-drawn, authentic characters, Running Through Beijing is a masterful performance from a fresh Chinese voice.
About the Author
Xu Zechen is the author of the novels Midnight's Door, Night Train, and Heaven on Earth and was selected by People's Literature as one of the "Future 20" best Chinese writers under 41. The recipient of numerous awards and honors, he lives in Beijing. Eric Abrahamsen is the recipient of translation grants from PEN and the NEA and has written for The New York Times, among others. In 2012 Penguin published his translation of The Civil Servant's Notebook by Wang Xiaofang. He lives in Beijing.
Praise for Running Through Beijing:
"Running through Beijing is clean and fast, deeply felt and very smart: a profoundly engaging story about a certain kind of honor, and a certain kind of thief, and a life that feels hidden in plain sight."
Roy Kesey, author of Pacazo and Any Deadly Thing
"This novel’s style is sparse and direct, representing a divergence from traditional Chinese literature" National Endowment for the Arts
Praise for Xu Zechen:
"His silent toiling has given voice to the equally silent social classes struggling on the boundaries of the country's urban landscape" China Daily
"Reflects on the scattergun entrepreneurialism and economic inequality of the new Beijing" The Financial Times
"The glory of the post-1970 writers" Master magazine