James Kidd: Best Books of the 2010s
Perhaps the most welcome development of all was an English-language translation of Louis "Jin Yong” Cha Leung-yung’s wuxia Condor trilogy, overseen by Anna Holmwood and published by the MacLehose Press. All the concerns of English-speaking editors, who wondered whether readers outside China could cope with Cha’s epic, almost metaphysical fights, melted away in the course of two wonderful novels. A Snake Lies Waiting, part three of a projected 12 books, is due in early 2020. Sadly, Cha died only a few months after part one was released, in 2018.
The success of all these books owes much to an impressive generation of translators, arguably the most famous of whom is Ken Liu. An admired novelist in his own right, he is even more celebrated for his role in this golden age of Chinese science-fiction.
His first act was to translate the Three-Body Problem trilogy, by Liu Cixin, which has become a global phenomenon since part one appeared in 2014 (six years after the Chinese version).