The Explosion Chronicles | Yan Lianke
480 pages | Grove Press
Yan Lianke is one of the most acclaimed writers of contemporary China--twice a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize, as well as the winner of the prestigious Franz Kafka Prize--and he has been lauded for his imaginative satire and perceptive cultural critique. The Explosion Chronicles tells the unforgettable tale of rival families competing in a greed-fueled race to convert their sleepy, rural community into a thriving super metropolis.
With the Yi River on one side and the Balou Mountains on the other, the remote village of Explosion was founded more than a millennium ago by refugees fleeing a seismic volcanic eruption. But in the post-Mao era, the name takes on surprising significance as the villagers aspire to transform their poor province into a bustling city of millions.
Behind this explosive expansion are the four Kong brothers, whose loyalty is tested when they set out to fulfill their individual destinies; Zhu Ying, a wealthy businesswoman and the daughter of the former village chief; and Cheng Qing, a secretary climbing the ranks to become an influential political figure. Linked together by a web of lies, vice, and ambition, they are the driving force behind their hometown's transformation. And when Explosion's progress begins to take a lethal toll, they are forced to confront the sacrifices they have made for power and money.
Brimming with absurdity, intelligence, and wit, The Explosion Chronicles is a riotous exploration of the high stakes of unbridled authority, the consequences of corruption, the polarizing dynamics of love and hate, and the seemingly unstoppable excesses of capitalist culture.