“You’re stepping on my shadow, please back off,” she said.

Sun Yisheng / Nicky Harman

一路风尘 (lit. Vicissitudes of Life)

Novel by Wang Xiaoying.

This award winning novel by one of China's most prolific contemporary authors is a fascinating look at the modern Chinese condition.

Vicissitudes of Life tells the story of Xiaoyi, a post-graduate studying in America during the early years of China's opening up. Xiaoyi has opportunities in America, but pining for his wife and determined to contribute to the building of the 'New China' he decides to return home. Before he leaves a former lover reads his fortune using a traditional book of divination. She warns him that a dire fate awaits him in China. Xiaoyi ignores the warning and returns home.

Back in Shanghai, he is reunited with his wife Fan Fan, a singer in a local chorus, and is offered a job at his former university. However, it quickly becomes apparent that not everyone is happy about Xiaoyi's appointment, particularly the zealous Party Secretary You Dexiang. Xiaoyi soon finds himself in a Kafkaesque bureaucratic nightmare.

Translations:

Vicissitudes of Life

Translated by Qiu Maoru

Publications

Vicissitudes of Life Better Link Press, Shanghai Press and Publishing Development Company Dec. 2010 Mainland China