Yan Lianke’s compelling novel tells the story of one of China’s most controversial periods, the Great Famine, in which at least 45 million people died. Translated by Carlos Rojas.

1958, China. In a sprawling labour camp like hundreds of others, inmates must meet challenges set by the higher-ups: to grow an ever-spiralling amount of wheat and to smelt vast quantities of steel. The stakes are high: they can win their freedom if they collect enough red blossoms, awarded for effort, obedience and informing on others. But when bad weather arrives, followed by three bitter years of The Great Famine, the inmates are abandoned by the regime and left on their own to survive.

The Man Booker International Prize 2016
Published by
Chatto & Windus
Publication date
Yan Lianke

Yan Lianke

About the Author

Prolific author Yan Lianke was born in 1958 in Henan Province, China.
More about Yan Lianke
Carlos Rojas

Carlos Rojas

About the Translator

Carlos Rojas is an author and translator. He also teaches on a variety of topics - ranging from prostitutes and vampires to cities, migration and disease.
More about Carlos Rojas

Other nominated books by Yan Lianke

The Explosion Chronicles

Other nominated books by Carlos Rojas

The Explosion Chronicles