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Geling Yan Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Lost Daughter of Happiness (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Uninvited / The Banquet Bug (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Flowers of War (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Little Aunt Crane (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Secret Talker (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

White Snake and Other Stories (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon

Geling Yan
Geling Yan was born in Shanghai on November 16, 1958, and at the age of twelve, she performed as a dancer. She is the second child of Jia Lin and Yan Dunxun, and has an older brother named Yan Geping. Her dad is an alumnus of the College of Architecture and Urban Planning of Tongji University.

Geling served in the People’s Liberation Army during the Cultural Revolution, in Tibet. Yan started writing in the late seventies as a journalist, first covering the Sino-Vietnamese border war, where she achieved a rank equivalent to Lieutenant Colonel. She became a published novelist in China in the year 1985.

She left China to come to America in the year 1989, following the massacre at Tiananmen Square.

Geling has her Master’s in Fine Arts in Fiction Writing from Columbia College Chicago, and her bachelor’s degree in literature from Wuhan University.

She has been married twice, the first time to LI Kewei, from whom she divorced in the nineties. In the year 1992, she married Lawrence Walker, her second husband and a diplomat, in San Bruno, California. They don’t have any biological children, however they have adopted a Chinese girl, named Yanyan.

Many of her works have been adapted into film, including: “Xiu Xiu: The Sent-Down Girl”, “The Criminal Lu Yanshi” (filmed as “Coming Home”), and “13 Flowers of Nanjing” (filmed as “The Flowers of War”).

“The Banquet Bug” is the second stand alone novel and was released in the year 2006. Introducing readers to the little-known underworlds located found in contemporary China. This novel tells the fantastical tale of Dan Dong, who is an unemployed factory worker and his life takes a series of unexpected twists just after he learns that, when he poses as a journalist, is able to eat exquisite gourmet meals for free at some state-sponsored banquets.

However the secrets that he is able to overhear while at these events eventually leads him down an intrigue-laden and twisted road, and his subterfuge and his true identity gets increasingly tougher to separate. When he becomes privy to a scandal that runs from the very depths of society to its top rungs, he has to figure out a way to reveal the corruption, without ever revealing the dangerous truth all about himself.

Fans of the novel found this to be unique, wholly original, and highly entertaining. The characters are rather astounding here, and the storyline turns and twists while the reader gets dragged along with Dan by some forces that he is unable to control.

“The Flowers of War” is the third stand alone novel and was released in the year 2012. December of 1937. The Japanese have taken Nanking. A group of horrified schoolgirls hides back in the compound of an American church. With them is Shujuan, through whose thirteen year old eyes we witness all of the stunning events that follow.

Run by Father Engelmann, who is an American priest that has been in China for many years now, the church is supposedly neutral ground in the war between Japan and China. However it soon becomes clear that the Japanese do not obey the international rules of engagement. While they pour through the streets of Nanking, pillaging and raping the civilian population, the girls are in more danger. And their safety gets further compromised when some prostitutes from the brothel close by climb over the wall and into the compound seeking refuge.

The novel is vivid, powerful, beautiful, short, and transports the reader to thirties China. This is a story about how love is able to flourish amid death and how war upsets all prejudices, featuring characters from the irreverent prostitutes to an austere priest.

“Little Aunt Crane” is the fourth stand alone novel and was released in the year 2015. During the final days of World War II, the Japanese occupation of Manchuria has collapsed. While the Chinese start moving in, the elders of the Japanese settler village of Sakito choose to preserve their honor by murdering every villager in an act of mass suicide. Only a sixteen year old named Tatsuru is able to escape.

However Tatsuru’s trials have only started. While she flees, she falls right into some human traffickers’ hands. She gets sold off to a wealthy Chinese family, where she becomes Duohe, who is the clandestine second wife for the only son, and the secret bearer of all his kids. Against all odds, she forms an unlikely friendship with the first wife, named Xiaohuan, with whom she is united by the unshakable bonds of family as well as motherhood.

Spanning several turbulent decades of Mao’s rule, this is a novel about survival, love, and courage, and how humanity is able to endure in the most unlikely of all circumstances.

This is Yan Geling at her very best, exploring a previously unknown piece of Chinese history and China. The characters are likable, with the loud-mouthed quarrelsome wife, the taciturn husband, the enigmatic character that is Little Aunt Crane. This tale, which follows these three from youth to old age and on to death, is completely odd, yet entirely convincing.

“The Secret Talker” is the fifth stand alone novel and was released in the year 2021. This is a psychological story of a woman with a secret admirer, who hides secrets of her very own.

Hongmei, who is diligent, passive, and beautiful, is the perfect wife to a caring and brilliant college professor, named Glen. However her idyllic life in Northern California starts cracking when a mysterious person starts to email her, pulling her into a frightening and enthralling game of cat-and-mouse. Who could it be that is stalking her? And how could this mysterious stranger know about her darkest and deepest secrets?

While Honmei is forced to face up against her own dark past back in China, the veneer of her peaceful life gets laid bare. More and more self-destructive and desperate, her only hope is to turn the tables on her tormentor. Digging into her stalker’s own personal history could irrevocably rip her marriage and world to shreds, which is one risk that she has to take in order to regain control of her own life.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Geling Yan

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