Book Notification

Yan Lianke Books In Order

Book links take you to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn money from qualifying purchases.

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Lenin's Kisses (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Serve the People! (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dream of Ding Village (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Four Books (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Explosion Chronicles (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Day the Sun Died (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Hard Like Water (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
Heart Sutra (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

Publication Order of Short Story Collections

The Years, Months, Days (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Discovering Fiction (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Three Brothers (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Yan Lianke is often deemed by scholars and critics to be a prime candidate for the Literature Nobel Prize.

Over the years, he has made a reputation for being a versatile and unique Chinese author, known for his tough-minded political stances and his artistry.

He is also among the most outspoken and prolific Chinese authors who is masterful with his fiction, as he blends the folkloric, realistic, surrealistic, historical, and supernatural.

In his essays and novels, he bravely confronts the problems of China’s political and social history head-on, as he defies present and past government policies in the process.

Lianke was born in 1958 in China in a small village in Henan which was so tiny, that it did not even have a library.

During his time growing up, he never once knew the differences between a novel, novella, and short story. It would not be until he joined the army that he finally got access to a library, where he started reading what he calls real fiction.
Given that he loved books so much, he would end up working as a librarian, which is something that he did for more than two years.

Lianke took advantage of his time working as a librarian to make up for the first twenty years of his life when he did little to no reading.

When Yan started writing, it was not with the goal of becoming a writer, as all he wanted was to move to the city and escape country life.

He believed that it was through fiction that he would get a promotion, change his destiny and join the hordes of city residents.

Soon enough, he went to Henan University to get an education in politics. He would also graduate from the Art Institute of the People’s Liberation Army with a degree in literature.

Yan Lianke is now the author of more than seventeen novels, novellas, and more than two collections of short fiction. He is also the author of just as many collections of essays and is credited with writing numerous film and television scripts.
In the beginning, he penned mostly realistic fiction but at the tail end of the 1990s, he began to turn towards extremely satirical and imaginative political allegory.

Yan Lianke’s work is for the most part set during some of the most turbulent periods in China such as the “Great Leap Forward” and Mao’s “Cultural Revolution.”

The author has also written about controversial issues such as the lackluster response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in China. He has also published nonfiction works in literary criticism and theory in addition to more lyrical cultural and personal essays.
He writes about varied themes ranging from the course of nature, stories of his own friends and family, and the lives of everyday Chinese citizens.

In Beijing, Yan Lianke works for the Renmin University of China where he teaches literature and writing. He has said that he teaches to diversify literature for students that may be majoring in technology and science.

Many of his works including speeches and essays have been banned in China since they deal with sensitive political and historical matters. For this reason, he does most of his publishing in Taiwan.

“Dream of Ding Village” by Yan Lianke is a work that was censored in China when it was published. It would also be the subject of a bitter dispute between the publisher and the author, even as it would go on to become Lianke’s most important work to date.
Inspired by a real-life scandal of selling blood in eastern China, “Dream Ding” was written after Yan spent three years investigating the scandal in rural China.

He was then working as an assistant to an anthropologist of renown in Beijing, who was studying how a small village was nearly wiped out by HIV/AIDS due to unregulated blood selling.

The pandemic had wiped out whole villages but nobody had taken responsibility and no reparations were ever paid.

The work focuses on one family that was devastated as one of their sons rose to the top of the Party pile while another gets infected and soon died.

It Makes for a steely and passionate critique.

“Serve the People” by Yan Lianke is a novel set in 1967 when the cult of Mao was at its height. In this work, the author tells the beautiful and daring story of the romance between Liu Lian and Wu Dawang.

The former is the pretty and young wife of one of the most influential Division commanders in Communist China, while the latter is a lowly servant in their household.

Liu Lian tells her servant that he will have to attend to her needs any time the “Serve the People” wooden sign is removed and he agrees to do as she says.

What follows is an incredible, delicious and profound satire told in love. It ridicules what has to be Mao’s most famous slogan and the sexual and political taboos of his government.

Breathing life into the illicit romance, the author is exceptional at capturing how Wu Dawang the Model Soldier eagerly collaborates with the demanding and restless Liu Lian.

Their actions are driven by dark and primitive passions they are only too eager to discover. Initially banned in China, this is also the first Yan Lianke work to ever be published in English.

“Lenin’s Kisses” is a tragicomic and absurdist masterpiece that is set in contemporary China.

The homogenous people of Liven have been living a good life with enough leisure and food and are not subjected to the government’s watchful eye.

However, things change when there is a seven-day storm in the middle of a sweltering summer that obliterates their crops leaving them destitute.

Soon enough, a county official turns up and offers them a lucrative scheme that will not only boost his career but will also raise a lot of money for the district.

Most of the nearly 200 villagers are disabled and he needs them to work with him as part of a performing troupe. With the money he makes from this peculiar show, he hopes he will have enough to purchase the embalmed corpse of Lenin from Russia.
He will then put it in a huge and magnificent mausoleum for tourists in the ultimate marriage of communism and capitalism. But the success of his performance troupe may come at a very high price.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Yan Lianke

Leave a Reply