3.26 (2,156 ratings by Goodreads)

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One of China's bestselling novels, an unusual literary thriller that takes us deep into the world of code breaking
In his gripping debut novel, Mai Jia reveals the mysterious world of Unit 701, a top-secret Chinese intelligence agency whose sole purpose is counterespionage and code breaking.
Rong Jinzhen, an autistic math genius with a past shrouded in myth, is forced to abandon his academic pursuits when he is recruited into Unit 701. As China's greatest cryptographer, Rong discovers that the mastermind behind the maddeningly difficult Purple Code is his former teacher and best friend, who is now working for China's enemy--but this is only the first of many betrayals.
Brilliantly combining the mystery and tension of a spy thriller with the psychological nuance of an intimate character study and the magical qualities of a Chinese fable, `Decoded` discovers in cryptography the key to the human heart. Both a riveting mystery and a metaphysical examination of the mind of an inspired genius, it is the first novel to be published in English by one of China's greatest and most popular contemporary writers.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 315 pages
  • 159 x 240 x 27mm | 517g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0374135800
  • 9780374135805
  • 967,584

Review quote

Praise for` Decoded```Decoded,` the debut work of Mai Jia, breaks the mould . . . It stands out among Chinese novels for its pace, liveliness and the sheer novelty of the tale it tells. It grips from the first page. [Mai Jia] offers a beguiling and magical mystery tour of China. It is an absolute joy to read.` --`The Economist``There is a determination to unsettle the reader; an uneasiness abotu settling on one focused point of view, almost as if the narrative style is attempting to replicate the complexities of code breaking that lie at the heart of the novel . . . [`Decoded`] possesses an aesthetic of its own, a world in which the characters feel constantly teetering on the edge of obsession.` --Tash Aw, `The Telegraph```Decoded` is a subtle and complex exploration of cryptography, politics, dreams and their significance . . . In the end, it's the complexity of the characters that is `Decoded`'s enduring pleasure.` --`The London Review of Books``Subtle and psychologically focused . . . the central story is a gripping one . . . it leaves you eager to read more of his work.` --Alexander Larman, `The Observer``A mixture of Kafka and Agatha Christie . . . An utterly fascinating read.` --Edward Wilson, `The Independent ``The book's subtle ambiguity is extended to its own conclusion, the decoding of which the reader is compelled to take part in.` --`The Wall Street Journal``An engaging and highly unusual read.` --`The Sunday Independent```Decoded` is a subtle and complex exploration of cryptography, politics, dreams and their significance . . . There is much of interest in this book, from the strange, superstitious beginning to the gradual decline of the Rong family as the twentieth century progresses . . . But, in the end, it is the complexity of the characters that is `Decoded's `enduring pleasure.` --`The Times Literary Supplement``Between the thrills of pulp fiction and those novels which come to be considered classics, there are boundaries and lines which, for m
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About Jia Mai

Mai Jia, who spent many years in the Chinese intelligence services, is one of China's bestselling and most famous writers. He is the author of four novels, three of which have been turned into television series and films. Mai has won almost every major book prize in China, including its highest literary honor, the Mao Dun Literature Prize.
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Rating details

2,156 ratings
3.26 out of 5 stars
5 13% (280)
4 28% (593)
3 37% (799)
2 17% (377)
1 5% (107)
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