RUNNING THROUGH BEIJING by Xu Zechen, translated by Eric Abrahamsen

Running Through Beijing.jpg
Running Through Beijing.jpg

RUNNING THROUGH BEIJING by Xu Zechen, translated by Eric Abrahamsen


176 pages
Two Lines Press

Read reviews on Goodreads & Amazon

Chinese literature published in the United States has tended to focus on politics — think the Cultural Revolution and dissidents — but there's a whole other world of writing out there. It's punk, dealing with the harsh realities lived by the millions of city-dwellers struggling to get by in the grey economy. Dunhuahg, recently out of prison for selling fake IDs, has just enough money for a couple of meals. He also has no place to stay and no prospects for earning more yuan. When he happens to meet a pretty woman selling pirated DVDs, he falls into both an unexpected romance and a new business venture. But when her on-and-off boyfriend steps back into the picture, Dunhuahg is forced to make some tough decisions. Running Through Beijing explores an underworld of constant thievery, hardcore porn, cops (both real and impostors), prison bribery, rampant drinking, and the smothering, bone-dry dust storms that blanket one of the world's largest cities. Like a literary Run Lola Run, it follows a hustling hero rushing at breakneck speed to stay just one step ahead. Full of well-drawn, authentic characters, Running Through Beijing is a masterful performance from a fresh Chinese voice.

“The novel captures the taste and tension of Beijing better than any I’ve ever read.” — Los Angeles Review of Books

"Running through Beijing is clean and fast, deeply felt and very smart: a profoundly engaging story about a certain kind of honor, and a certain kind of thief, and a life that feels hidden in plain sight." — Roy Kesey, author of Pacazo and Any Deadly Thing

“Xu Zechen has captured with colloquial grace the frenetic pace of a Beijing heartbeat where dust storms, crackdowns, pirated DVD porn, and double lives are the norm. . . . Eric Abrahamsen’s translation sparkles like a crystal bobblehead.” — Jeffrey Yang, author of An Aquarium and Vanishing-Line

“A window onto Beijing’s seamy, crime-ridden underbelly . . . a vibrant story by one of China’s rising young writers. I’d check it out if I were you.” — Book Riot

Xu Zechen is the author of the novels Midnight's Door, Night Train, and Heaven on Earth and was selected by People's Literature as one of the "Future 20" best Chinese writers under 41. The recipient of numerous awards and honors, he lives in Beijing.

Eric Abrahamsen is the recipient of translation grants from PEN and the NEA and has written for The New York Times, among others. In 2012 Penguin published his translation of The Civil Servant's Notebook by Wang Xiaofang. He lives in Beijing.

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