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Translated by Carlos Rojas
Hard Like Water is a thrilling story about an erotic affair during China’s Cultural Revolution.
Returning to his hometown—and his wife—soldier Aijun sees a young woman, Hongmei, wandering barefoot along the railway tracks in the late-afternoon sun. From that moment on, Aijun and Hongmei spend their days and nights writing pamphlets and attending rallies: they are the engines of history. But soon their sexual and revolutionary fervour merge and a crazed new love explodes between them.
The party bosses are impressed by the ardour of the pair’s work. Emboldened, the couple build a ‘tunnel of love’—to further the revolution, of course, but also to connect their homes for their secret rendezvous. What will happen to their dreams of a life together?
Hard Like Water is an irresistible tale about sex and revolution, and a compelling drama about the nature of political power—by one of China’s greatest contemporary writers.
INTERVIEWS and REVIEWS
‘A master of imaginative satire. His work is animated by an affectionate loyalty to his peasant origins in the poverty-stricken province of Henan, and fierce anger over the political abuses of the regime.’
‘I can think of few better novelists than Yan, with his superlative gifts for storytelling and penetrating eye for truth.’
‘Yan Lianke is one of the best contemporary Chinese writers.’
‘An indefatigable tale of love, delusion and revolution. Yan Lianke speaks to the agitation and absurdity of human existence, and the unquenchable need to believe in a cause greater than ourselves.’