Deep within the Balou mountains lies a small rural town populated by disabled people. Blind, deaf and disfigured, the 197 citizens of the Village of Liven have until now enjoyed a peaceful, mutually supportive life out of sight and mind of the government. But when an unseasonal snowstorm wipes out that year’s crops, a county official dreams up a scheme that will raise money for the district and boost his career.
He convinces the villagers to set up a travelling freak-show, to include Blind Tonghua’s Acute Listening Act, Guess the Age of the Old Man, Deafman Ma’s Firecrackers-on-the-Ear and One-Eye’s Needle Threading. With the money, he intends to buy Lenin’s embalmed corpse from an ailing Russia and install it in a splendid mausoleum in the mountains to attract tourism to this sleepy district. However, as we all know, even the best intentions can go awry.
Provocative and funny, Lenin’s Kisses melds fable, history and satire into a fantastical cautionary tale about contemporary China’s all-consuming desire for power and wealth.
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Yan’s postmodern cartoon of the Communist dream caving to run-amok capitalism is fiendishly clever - New York Times Book Review
This is a tale of modern China with all its wonders, marvels and absurdities and ironies roped together, making it a must-read. It’s little wonder that the author has won both China's equivalences of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. - Da Chen, author of My Last Empress
Lenin's Kisses is a grand comic novel, wild in spirit and inventive in technique. It's a rhapsody that blends the imaginary with the real, raves about the absurd and the truthful, inspires both laughter and tears. Carlos Rojas's translation captures the vigor of the original, funny, poised, peculiar but always rational. The publication of this magnificent work in English should be an occasion for celebration. - Ha Jin
With its distinctive language, structure and narrative approach, Lenin's Kisses presents a distictive version of 'rural china' and 'revolutionary China', even while establishing a new literary 'native China' - Contemporary Literature Commentary
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About the Author
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! and Dream of Ding Village, which in 2012 was shortlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and adapted into a film (retitled Til Death Do Us Part). He is the winner of two of China's most prestigious literary awards, the Lao She, for Lenin's Kisses, and the Lu Xun.