About The Book
From the acclaimed author of Black Snow, a sweeping story of political upheaval and forbidden romance, set in early twentieth-century China
Liu Heng’s Black Snow was hailed by the San Francisco Bay Guardian as “cinematic [and] carefully crafted . . . representative of a new generation of writers . . . who accept no subordination in matters of artistic expression.” With Green River Daydreams, he delivers a novel that is quite different–a tragic story of love and duty narrated by the slave of a wealthy family in the early 1900s.
The slave, called Ears, begins his story with the return of the Cao family’s prodigal son, Guanghan, from a university in France. Bringing with him a French engineer and a dream of establishing a match factory, Guanghan takes little interest in the bride arranged for him in youth. His new wife’s beauty has not gone unnoticed by Ears, however–nor has her growing closeness to the Frenchman. As Guanghan’s Western individualism confronts his mother’s devout Buddhism and his brother’s grim authority, resistance to the Qing empire is becoming ever more bloody. Then Guanghan comes under suspicion from the emperor’s men, and the outcome will destroy the fragile balance of the Cao household forever. Green River Daydreams is a probing portrayal of a corrupt family and the silent “ears” that record its truth. Reminiscent of Memoirs of a Geisha and Chang-rae Lee’s A Gesture Life, Green River Daydreams is a stunningly accomplished novel that will put Liu Heng squarely in the company of the world’s most renowned writers.
“Liu Heng’s novel, part of a burst of contemporary Chinese literary genius, speaks for many. . . . Filled with light and fresh vision, it deserves a discerning audience.” –Alan Cheuse, NPR’s “All Things Considered”
“[A] dramatic story of tragic love set in politically turbulent, early 20th-century China. . . . Finely crafted, with a sure rendering of time and place, this novel is both a coming-of-age story and a chronicle of the clash between forbidden love and duty.” –Publishers Weekly
“Liu Heng is one of the new voices in Chinese literature who dares to explore the sights and sounds of Chinese lives previously barred from literary representation.” –Library Journal
“Liu Heng . . . writes with compassion and daring; his novel is as universal as it is specific.” –Santa Fe New Mexican
“Ears is a wily figure, lusty and irreverent, who seems almost to have stepped out of a Mozart opera. . . . Skillfully crafted and well-paced . . . Green River Daydreams is rich in archetype and allegory but also revelatory of universal human emotion, human predicaments, and human nature.” –Tony Giffone, Persimmon