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A powerful and intimate memoir about childhood, family and politics during the Cultural Revolution, from one of China’s most important contemporary voices. With his quick wit and gift for metaphor, Yan Lianke brings the reader into his home of the 1960s and early 70s in rural Henan Province. Yan’s is a loving but hard childhood: his father cultivates a stony plot to grow sweet potatoes, only to have them requisitioned by the government.
Yan longs to become a writer after reading on the back of a novel that the writer was allowed to remain in the city after publishing her book. But before escaping the village, he has to join the army in order to earn money for his family.Chronicling the lives of his father and uncles, as well as his own, Yan Lianke’s Three Brothers is both a portrait of a singular period and a heartfelt celebration of the power of the family under the harshest circumstances.
‘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.’
‘Lianke paints vivid scenes of desolate circumstances with an incredible mastery of words and control of his imagery. His masterpieces are sure to engage readers.’