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

Sun Yisheng / Nicky Harman

务虚笔记 (lit. Notes on Principles)

Novel by Shi Tiesheng.

Shi Tiesheng 史铁生 is probably the most unjustly overlooked Chinese writer and his novel Notes on Principles has become a modern classic. Telling the stories of five protagonists (a painter, a teacher, a poet, a doctor, a director and a disabled person) growing up in post-1949 China, it is a contemplation of life, suffering, myth, dreams and reality - a lucid search for self that should appeal to western readers. Notes on Principles has had a sort of cult status since its publication in 1996 – a remarkable achievement given the changes in society and literary taste in the last decade.