Yan Lianke—“China’s most feted and most banned author” (Financial Times)—is a master of imaginative satire, and his prize-winning works have been published around the world to the highest honors. Now, his two most acclaimed novellas are collected here in a single volume—masterfully crafted stories that explore the sacrifices made for family, the driving will to survive, and the longing to leave behind a personal legacy.
Marrow is the haunting tale of a widow who goes to extremes to provide a normal life for her four disabled children. When she discovers that bones—especially those of kin—can cure their illnesses and prevent future generations from the same fate, she feeds them a medicinal soup made from the skeleton of her dead husband. But after running out of soup, she resorts to a measure that only a mother can take.
In the luminous, moving title story,The Years, Months, Days—a bestselling, classic fable in China, and winner of the prestigious Lu Xun Literary Prize—an elderly man stays behind in his small village after a terrible drought forces everyone to leave. Unable to make the grueling march through the mountains, he becomes the lone inhabitant, along with a blind dog. As he fends off the natural world from overtaking his hometown, every day is a victory over death.
With touches of the fantastical and with deep humanity, these two magnificent novellas—masterpieces of the short form—reflect the universality of mankind’s will to live, live well, and live with purpose.
Praise forThe Years, Months, Days
“These two compelling novellas both exalt emotional bonds and warn against their fatal consequences . . . this work again directs the author’s unflinching gaze on life’s impossible absurdities, exposing a surreal mixture of brutality, openness, even sly humor.” —Library Journal (starred review)
“Apocalyptic, eerie visions in two novellas by much-honored Chinese writer Yan . . . Inspired, one imagines, by the terrible headlines of famine, climate change, and simple uncertainty; Yan draws on the conventions of folklore and science fiction alike to produce memorable literature.” —Kirkus Reviews