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THREE BROTHERS

Yan Lianke

  • Original Title: WO YU FUBEI
  • Publication date: December 2009
  • Publisher: INK
  • Country: CN
  • 224 print pages
  • Factual/Memoirs

Information

  • Epoch: Historical
  • Time Period: 20th century
  • Location setting: China
  • Themes: FAMILY, Intergenerational, Childhood, Paternity, Filiation, PEOPLE facing life, Looking back on one's life, SOCIETY DYSFUNCTIONS, Poverty, Power, Corruption, Totalitarian regime, SOCIAL CHRONICLES, Social climbing

Pitch

A memoir which deals with the themes of Chinese family and the fading virtue of filial piety. The book depicts the relationships between the young Yan Lianke, his father and two uncles, and their lifelong efforts to build a house for their children.

Comments

Translation rights sold: US

Yan Lianke is a Chinese writer, author of a huge number of novels and story collections. He has received many literary prizes including the Lu Xun in 2000 and the Lao She in 2004.
The film adaptation of DREAM OF DING VILLAGE, renamed TILL DEATH DO US PART, was released in China in 2011. From acclaimed director, Changwei Gu, it was promoted at the Hong Kong International Film Festival and received excellent reviews.

Summary

A memoir which deals with the themes of Chinese family and the fading virtue of filial piety.

The book depicts the relationships between the young Yan Lianke, his father and two uncles, and their lifelong efforts to build a house for their children. It transports readers to the 1960s and 1970s, a time when China was immersed in communist fervor and ridden by extreme poverty and political chaos. With the heavy historical memories as a backdrop, Yan Lianke meticulously depicts the selfless love his father’s generation nourish their children with, and his sincere gratitude for the family in return.

Yan's parents are so poor that they can only afford to use wheat flour on New Year and festival days, and as a child he dreams of fried scallion buns, and once steals from his father to buy a sesame seed cake. Yan yearns to leave the village, however he can, and soon novels become an escape. He resolves to become a writer himself after reading on the back of a novel that its author was given leave to remain in the city of Harbin after publishing her book. In the evenings, after finishing back-breaking shifts hauling stones at a cement factory, sometimes sixteen hours long, he sets to work writing. A career in the Army ultimately allows Yan to escape village life, but he is filled with regrets as he recalls these years of scarcity, turmoil, and poverty.

A portrait of the trials of daily life, as well as a philosophical meditation on grief, death, home, and fate, THREE BROTHERS is a personal portrait of a politically devastating period, and a celebration of the power of the family to hold together even in the harshest circumstances.

With his story shedding light on the difficulty of owning a house, Yan Lianke's book especially found resonance with contemporary Chinese people who are often too burdened under exorbitant property prices to buy an affordable home.

English translation available





go further

  • Author’s biography

    Yan Lianke (born 1958) is a Chinese writer, author of a huge number of novels and story collections. He has received many literary prizes including the Lu Xun in 2000 and the Lao She in 2004.
    The film adaptation of DREAM OF DING VILLAGE, renamed TILL DEATH DO US PART, was released in China in 2011. From acclaimed director, Changwei Gu, it was promoted at the Hong Kong International Film Festival and received excellent reviews.