The Explosion Chronicles
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The Explosion Chronicles

3.46 (99 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL 2017 With the Yi River on one side and the Balou Mountains on the other, the village of Explosion was founded a thousand years ago by refugees fleeing a volcanic eruption. But in the post-Mao era, the name takes on a new significance as the rural community grows explosively from a small village to a town to a city to a vast megalopolis. Behind this rapid expansion are three rival clans linked together by a web of ambition, madness and greed. The four Kong brothers; Zhu Ying, the daughter of the former village chief; and Cheng Qing, who starts out as a secretary and goes on to become a powerful political and business figure in her own right, transform their hometown into a Babylon of modern times -- an unrivalled urban superpower built on lies, sex and thievery. Brimming with absurdity, intelligence and wit, The Explosion Chronicles considers the high stakes of passion and power, the consequences of corruption and greed, the dynamics of love and hate, as well as the seemingly boundless excesses of capitalist culture. 'One of the masters of modern Chinese literature' Jung Chang 'One of China's most successful writers . . . [Yan Lianke] writes in the spirit of the dissident writer Vladimir Voinovich, who observed that "reality and satire are the same"' Evan Osnos, New Yorkershow more

Product details

  • Paperback | 480 pages
  • 135 x 216 x 33mm | 505g
  • Vintage Publishing
  • CHATTO & WINDUS
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1784740489
  • 9781784740481
  • 31,873

Review quote

"Charting the transformation of a rural village into a 21st- century megalopolis, it is a boisterously inventive novel that conveys the everyday reality of modern China" -- David Mills * Sunday Times Books of the Year * "As much a parody of communist rule in China as a devastating critique of capitalist excess, power, greed and self-destruction, Yan's novel is nothing short of a masterpiece" -- Claire Kohda Hazelton * Guardian * "Welcome to 'mythorealism' and Yan Lianke's extraordinary novel. The Explosion Chronicles wields a different take on reality to present a provocatively illuminating and perceptive insight into contemporary China... The sweeping mythic style and exaggerated, cartoon-like effects are exhilarating, and for all that they might be hideously satirical... the reality of life in China and the self-entitlement of senior officials, is sharply conveyed... The rapid expansion of the Chinese economy and the country's growing assertiveness is one of the most important phenomena of our time: you couldn't call The Explosion Chronicles a definitive guide, but it will certainly help you understand it better" -- David Mills * The Sunday Times * "A rip-roaring Swiftian satire from a contemporary Chinese master... Yan Lianke, one of China's most forthright and versatile novelists, enlists extravagant comedy and far-fetched fable to propel his critique of a society where "power and money have colluded to steal people's souls"" * The Economist * "In the Man Booker International Prize-longlisted The Explosion Chronicles, the latest of Yan Lianke's traumatic, inexhaustible satires of China over the past six decades, the fictional village of Explosion undergoes a similar whirlwind expansion in the post-Mao era. The resulting novel is a hyper-real tour de force, a blistering condemnation of political corruption and excess masquerading as absurdist saga" -- Catherine Taylor * Financial Times * "An epic tale of miracles, madness, greed and corruption set against the backdrop of runaway urbanization... Even the most majestic of sights in this novel are distractions designed to mask the pervasive moral rot that lies just beneath the surface" -- Jeffrey Wasserstrom * Times Literary Supplement * "In this comic fable of modern China... Yan has absurdist fun with the impact that policy shifts have on cremation, the military, elections, and the town's efforts to woo American investors... It's mordant satire from a brave fabulist" -- Jeffrey Burke * Mail on Sunday * "China is put under the microscope in this exuberant and imaginative novel about the sudden growth of a town" * The Sunday Times * "In an uproarious cavalcade of boom and (Yan hints) bust, the four Kong brothers and their resourceful womenfolk mastermind the ascent of their home town. Explosion becomes China in microcosm... The novel's farce, fantasy and fun stay just a step or two ahead of China's gravity-defying truth. Not surprisingly, Yan's work has been repeatedly banned in China" -- Boyd Tonkin * Economist 1843 * ""[Yan's] fiction has lampooned some of the darkest moments in Chinese history... In this latest work, however, Yan shifts his irreverent gaze from the past to the present and toward projections of the future, taking stock of China's vertiginous economic rise and the astonishing dissolution of its collective social conscience... The formal inventiveness of The Explosion Chronicles is impressive and its fictional universe vividly drawn... I can think of few better novelists than Yan, with his superlative gifts for storytelling and penetrating eye for truth" -- Jiayang Fan * New York Times Book Review * "Both madcap satire and engrossing dynastic epic, as three rival clans compete to turn the idyllic Chinese village of Explosion into a booming megacity" * Good Housekeeping * "This darkly absurd history trucks freely with the fantastic - the city's airport is built in less than a week - but many of the more brazen events are taken straight from the news... Yan Lianke's burlesque of a nation driven insane by money is equally a satire of some of the excesses of the Chinese Revolution" -- Sam Sacks * The Wall Street Journal * "Yan Lianke paints a metaphoric and absurd portrait of contemporary China so obsessed with growth that its moral values have been left by the wayside. Yan Lianke's poetic prose rewards those who read to the end of this great novel of rare insight" * Le Monde * "An epic page-turner... Yan's mesmerizing ability to pull readers into this raw, subversive, not completely fictional world will continue to build his international audience. Mo Yan was the first Chinese national to be awarded the Nobel for Literature; Yan might just be next" -- Terry Hong * Library Journal * "Yan returns with renewed vigor to the job of lampooning communist orthodoxy, capitalist ambition, and `contemporary China's incomprehensible absurdity.'...[The Explosion Chronicles] has the absurdist feel of an Ionesco or Durrenmatt piece, though without any of the heavy-handed obviousness. Indeed, his satire is careful and crafty ... it can be read as a kind of Swiftian satire... Brilliant" * Kirkus (Starred Review) *show more

About Yan Lianke

Yan Lianke was born in 1958 in Henan Province, China. He is the author of numerous novels and short-story collections, including Serve the People!, Dream of Ding Village, Lenin's Kisses, The Four Books andThe Explosion Chronicles. He has been awarded the Hua Zhong World Chinese Literature Prize, the Lao She Literary Award and the Franz Kafka Prize, whose previous winners include Vaclav Havel, John Banville and Harold Pinter. He has also been shortlisted for an array of prizes including the International Man Booker Prize, the Principe de Asturias Prize for Letters, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, the FT/Oppenheimer Fund Emerging Voices Award and the Prix Femina Etranger. He lives and writes in Beijing.show more

Review Text

"Both madcap satire and engrossing dynastic epic, as three rival clans compete to turn the idyllic Chinese village of Explosion into a booming megacity"show more

Flap copy

With the Yi River on one side and the Balou Mountains on the other, the village of Explosion was founded a thousand years ago by refugees fleeing a volcanic eruption. But in the post-Mao era, the name takes on a new significance as the rural community grows explosively from a small village to a town to a city to a vast megalopolis. Behind this rapid expansion are three rival families. Linked together by a web of ambition, madness and greed, the four Kong brothers; Zhu Ying, the daughter of the former village chief; and Cheng Qing, who starts out as a secretary and goes on to become a powerful political and business figure, transform their hometown into a Babylon of modern times -- an unrivalled urban superpower built on lies, sex and thievery. Brimming with absurdity, intelligence and wit, The Explosion Chronicles considers the high stakes of passion and power, the consequences of corruption and greed, the dynamics of love and hate, as well as the seemingly boundless excesses of capitalist culture.show more

Rating details

99 ratings
3.46 out of 5 stars
5 11% (11)
4 38% (38)
3 36% (36)
2 14% (14)
1 0% (0)
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