Page 1

THE GRAYHAWK AGENCY Frankfurt Book Fair 2013 Rights List

Our Table: IRC 20N Gray Tan grayhawk@grayhawk-agency.com Anna Holmwood anna@grayhawk-agency.com


The Grayhawk Agency

Table of Contents Fiction:!

!

!

!

!

!

!

!

!

!

Page

Mai Jia!!

!

--- !

DECODED!

!

!

!

!

!

!

4

!

!

---!

IN THE DARK!

!

!

!

!

!

5

Wu Ming-Yi! !

---!

THE MAN WITH THE COMPOUND EYES!!

!

7

Lu Min!

!

---!

DINNER FOR SIX!

!

!

!

!

!

9

Chi Wei-Jan!

!

---!

PRIVATE EYES!

!

!

!

!

!

11

!

!

!

!

!

!

!

!

!

Yan Ge!!

!

---!

THE CHILI BEAN PASTE CLAN!

!

!

!

13

Stanley Chan! !

---!

THE WASTE TIDE!

!

!

!

!

15

Tsou Ying-Shan!

---!

THE WAITING ROOM!

!

!

!

!

17

Chi Zijian!

!

---!

THE LAST QUARTER OF THE MOON!

!

!

19

Fan Wen!

!

---!

CANTICLE TO THE LAND! !

!

!

!

21

Zhang Ling!

!

---!

MAIL ORDER BRIDE!!

!

!

!

!

23

!

!

!

---!

GOLD MOUNTAIN BLUES! !

!

!

!

24

Ai Mi! !

!

---!

UNDER THE HAWTHORN TREE! !

!

!

25

!

---!

PAPER TIGER? !

!

!

27

!

!

!

!

!

Non-fiction! Xu Zhiyuan!

!

!

!

2


The Grayhawk Agency

Fiction

3


Fiction

The Grayhawk Agency

Film rights sold to 20th Century Fox!

DECODED 解密 Mai Jia 麥家

Penguin Modern Classics (UK) & FSG (US) lead title Feb 2014 Multiple prize-winning debut 17 editions with over 600,000 copies sold in China Film rights sold to 20th Century Fox Original Publisher: People’s Literature (2006) Material: Chinese manuscript. Full English translation. Length: 146 000 Chinese, apprx 90 000 words in English

Rights Sold: Penguin (World English), FSG (US), Planeta (World Spanish), Marti (Turkey)

"I love DECODED. It takes something very special in a novel to grab my attention, to make me fee like this is a book I have to publish; I knew within a few paragraphs that this is one of those books. DECODED is a novel that does what the word "novel" suggests—it brings news, it carries the reader into an unfamiliar world. Mai Jia has created a very compelling central character and evokes a mysterious landscape of mathematics and espionage, playing with the conventions of suspense in a smart and entertaining way. Ultimately, he tells an absorbing, unusual, heartbreaking story in clean, elegant, energetic prose, and it’s irresistible.”! ! Eric Chinski, Editor-in-Chief, FSG

In his debut novel, Mai Jia creates Unit 701, a top-secret Chinese intelligence agency whose sole purpose is counter-espionage, radio surveillance, and code-breaking. The protagonist of 4


The Grayhawk Agency

Fiction

DECODED is Rong Jinzhen, an autistic maths genius. He comes from an illustrious and highly educated family, but was born with an unusually large head. This is the tragic story of his rise to become China's greatest code breaker, his almost mythic birth, the Rong family's role in China's modernisation and education, and his leaving the world of mathematics and academia behind following his "recruitment" by 701. Jinzhen’s greatest challenge is a set of highly classified codes called "The Purple Code" which was developed by China's chief enemy (unnamed throughout the book). The mastermind behind the code is Professor Heath, a Jewish genius who is both Rong's teacher at university and his best friend. Rong successfully breaks the Purple Code, but a new and more difficult variation awaits him, the Black Code. Rong becomes obsessed with breaking it. In the process, his notebook, which   contains everything he's written about code-breaking,   is stolen, eventually driving him insane… A sort of A BEAUTIFUL MIND set in the murky and often dangerous world of code breaking, DECODED brilliantly combines family history, coming-of-age story, spy thriller, and intimate character study to tell the tragic life of a genius. All of Mai Jia's trademarks are present: sharp prose, clipped dialogue, amazing plot twists, and the use of poetic metaphor to "simulate" the art of code-breaking. English translation by Christopher Payne and Olivia Milburn

IN THE DARK 暗算

Winner of the VII Mao Dun Literary Award (2008) Adapted into a wildly popular, 30-episode TV series (2006) Major film by the directors of “The Departed” Over 2,000,000 copies sold in China alone

Publisher: People’s Literature (2006) Material: Chinese manuscript and English sample Length: 214,000 words in Chinese, appx. 140,000 words in English Rights sold: Penguin (World English), Planeta (World Spanish), ThinKingdom (Taiwan)

IN THE DARK is Mai Jia’s breakout novel. Structured as a file cabinet, it is composed of five interlinked stories. Each story tells of an unsung hero of Unit 701, first introduced in DECODED. The first story is about Ah-Bing the Blind. He's from a rural village in China. Born blind, his hearing came to compensate so that he can distinguish between each of the 2,000 plus villagers by voice. He is recruited by 701 at a time of crisis after an unusual radio silence from enemy stations. 5


The Grayhawk Agency

Fiction

Ah-Bing quickly helps 701 to recapture the missing radio stations. He is promoted, marries a nurse by the order of the Party, and has a son. But he sends a secret recording to his boss saying that the son "is not his" and that the father is a technician in the hospital where his wife works. He is heartbroken and commits suicide. It is revealed that Ah-Bing is in fact sexually impotent and has no idea how to “make babies.” His wife wants him to have a son so gets pregnant by her colleague, never imagining that he would be able to “hear” who the real father is. The second story, "An Angel with Problems" centres on Huang Yiyi, a beautiful maths professor turned code-breaker. She returns from studies abroad out of patriotic fervour and agrees to join Unit 701 to help break a new code. She is extremely good at her job and becomes the first ever female Director, also starting a string of affairs with married male colleagues. She's brilliant, beautiful, but also passionate and without guile. Just before one of her lovers is about to be severely punished, Huang breaks a set of difficult codes, and in return she demands her lover to be left alone. Her wish is granted, but later dies in an accident when her lover’s wife bumps into her in a restroom, and a vicious elbow nudge results in her fatal fall. The five stories, as well as the author’s previous novel, DECODED, are all narrated by someone called "Mai Jia," whose background is very similar to the writer himself: ex-military, probably worked in intelligence, has a journalistic approach to writing these stories, etc. This technique lends a surprisingly realistic atmosphere to the books, while at the same time making the author, who is already very low-profile, even more mysterious.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Mai Jia (b. 1964) was born into a family with a “bad class background”. He joined the army, working in the propaganda department for a while before turning to writing fiction full time. Mostly set during the Republican period (1913 - 1949), his novels make use of his own army background and recently declassified files. His writing has achieved both literary acclaim, winning him China’s top literary awards such as the Mao Dun, as well as staggering commercial success. His novels are always on the best seller lists, and he has sold over five million books in total to date.

6


The Grayhawk Agency

Fiction

“Lo, econovelists and biogeeks, and SpecFic + SF fans: This looks interesting!” Margaret Atwood, tweet 29 April 2013

THE MAN WITH THE COMPOUND EYES 複眼人 Wu Ming-Yi 吳明益

Winner of the Taipei Book Fair (TIBE) Award for Fiction (2012) Winner of the China Times Open Book Award (2011) Finalist of the Taiwan Literary Award (2011) First Taiwanese novel sold to major English-language publishers Original Publisher: Summer Festival Press (2011), 368pp Material: Chinese manuscript. Full English translation. Sample translations in German, Spanish, and Dutch. Length: 160,000 Chinese, appx. 100,000 words in English Rights Sold: Harvill Secker (World English), Pantheon (US/Canada), ThinKingdom (China), Stock (France), "We haven't read anything like this novel. Ever. South America gave us magical realism – what is Taiwan giving us? A new way of telling our new reality, beautiful, entertaining, frightening, preposterous, true. Completely unsentimental but never brutal, Wu Ming-Yi treats human vulnerability and the world's vulnerability with fearless tenderness.” Ursula K. Le Guin “This is a brilliant story. I wept at the description of the dying whales and the approaching tsunami. I’ve been bemoaning of late the lack of omniscient storytellers, and they work best with

7


a whimsical and fantastical narrator like this. I think this work will be a classic. A haunting and evocative tale, beautifully told.” Hugh Howey, best-selling author of WOOL THE MAN WITH THE COMPOUND EYES is the most refreshing and unique novel to have appeared in Taiwan in recent years. An ecological parable grounded firmly in reality and told in a tender voice that is reminiscent of a bedtime story, it combines the best of speculative fiction and nature writing while addressing environmental issues with a truly global vision. A futuristic fairy tale at once poetic, sad, and beautiful. On Wayo-wayo, a fictional island in the South Pacific, every second son has to sail into the sea as sacrifice to the Sea God on the day of his fifteenth birthday. Atre is one such boy. Being the strongest swimmer and best sailor on the island, he sets out to defy destiny. His journey takes him across the ocean to a vast and strange island, one which is built of material he’s never seen before and devoid of any signs of life. Hungry and barely alive, Atre believes that this is Hell. On Taiwan’s east coast, Alice, who lost her husband and son in a mountain accident, quietly contemplates committing suicide in her seaside home. Her plan is put on hold when news vans and helicopters from all over the world arrive on the beach to behold the catastrophe of the century: a trash vortex several times the size of Taiwan has come crashing against the shore. This is Atre’s strange island, a gigantic pile of garbage, a man-made Hell on Earth. Amidst the chaos, Alice saves the unconscious Atre. The two people seeking death instead find life in each other. They escape into the mountains, where they form an unusual bond as they struggle to understand each other’s language and culture. Atre helps Alice retraces her late husband’s footsteps, hoping to solve the mystery of her son’s disappearance. The dark secret she discovers will force her to question the essence of reality and everything she believes in. Throughout the book, the mythical figure of the Man with the Compound Eyes looms in the background, and the reader is left to form his/her own theory as to whether he is the spirit of Nature, humanity’s alter ego, or something else entirely. English translation by Darryl Sterk.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Writer, painter, designer, photographer, professor, amateur butterfly scholar, environmental activist and blogger rolled into one, Wu Ming-Yi (b.1971) is very much a modern Renaissance Man. Over the last decade, he has produced an impressive body of work, especially with his fiction and nature writing. He has been teaching literature and creative writing at Dong Hwa University since 2000 and is now Professor of the Department of Chinese.

8


The Grayhawk Agency

Fiction

Out of the smog, an intricate picture of contemporary China

DINNER FOR SIX 六人

Lu Min 魯敏 Selected as one of the “Top 20 Under 40” writers working in Chinese by both People Literature Magazine, China and Unitas magazine, Taiwan Multi-award winning leading writer of her generation Original Publisher: October Literature and Art (2012), 357pp Material: Chinese manuscript, English sample Length: 180 000 words in Chinese, apprx. 110 000 words in English

Choking fumes, pollution heavy in the air over the factory compound, so thick you can taste it. A sharp, metal flavour. Lu Min’s latest novel begins with a powerful reminder of the physical cloud that China’s breakneck modernisation has created over its people, progress that threatens to swallow those who have tripped and fallen along the way. Focusing on the loves and lives of two single-parent families, DINNER FOR SIX lifts the veil on real life in the world’s fastest changing society. Moving back and forth through fourteen years as if moving across a painting, we follow the six main characters as two families gather together and split apart, sitting across from each other at the dinner table. There’s Xiaobai, the youngest of the six. A boy when our story begins, he is desperate to regain some feeling of family after the loss of his father to cancer. Unsure when the two families are first united by his mother’s secret affair with Uncle Ding, he quickly comes to invest in trying to keep the families together, even if that means orchestrating a connection between his sister Xiaolan and Uncle Ding’s son, Chenggong. Su Qin, sensing a growing attraction between her daughter and the Ding boy Chenggong, is quick to break off her Wednesday nights with the alcoholic Mr Ding. The shame of the union meant she could never have acknowledged their relationship among their neighbours in the factory compound anyway.

9


Little does she know, the legacy of her secret rendez-vous has continued into the next generation, as Xiaolan and Chenggong’s relationship grows. But Xiaolan is destined for university, for a marriage based on social standing not love. Chenggong, despite his father’s claims of early genius, is never going to leave the factory compound, even if he’s managed to find a job he loves blowing glass. Theirs is a relationship conducted in secret and only for the now. Or so it seemed to be, until Xiaolan returns fourteen years after they first met, a baby growing inside her. Despite having always loved her and never anyone else, will Chenggong take her back? Sensuous without being flowery, DINNER FOR SIX is an exquisitely detailed examination of class, the gulf between public and private morality, and the struggles of those not born into wealth and power to make it in the new China. At once reminiscent of the smog-infested streets of a nineteenth-century British novel and a deconstruction of the Chinese Dream that echoes early twentieth-century America, DINNER FOR SIX is nevertheless a uniquely modern Chinese story.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Lu Min (b. 1973) is one of the most critically acclaimed writers of her generation. Her prolific output in recent years -- she has published five novels and seven short story collections -- has been exceeded in number only by the flood of prizes that have accompanied it, including the prestigious Lu Xun prize for short fiction, Reader’s Selection for best novel by Short Story Magazine, 2011 Best Female Writer Award, the People’s Literary Award etc.

10


The Grayhawk Agency

Fiction

Currently being adapted for the big screen

PRIVATE EYES 私家偵探

Chi Wei-Jan 紀蔚然 Winner of the Taipei Book Fair (TIBE) Award for Fiction (2012) Winner of the China Times Open Book Award (2011) Asia Weekly Top Ten Chinese Novel of the Year (2011) Film rights sold with the author attached to adapt

Original publisher: Ink (2011), 352pp Material: Chinese manuscript, English sample Length: 160 000 Chinese characters, appx. 100 000 words English

Winner of almost every major literary award, Chi Wei-Jan’s PRIVATE EYES was a publishing sensation in Taiwan in 2011, a brilliant literary detective novel in which a failed-academicturned-sleuth tries to make sense of the absurdity of modern city life, and to prove his innocence in a series of murders. The first ever serial killer in Taiwan? A family scandal that leads to corruption in the social health insurance system? A Buddhist fanatic who turns to killing people as a means of “salvation”? These are only part of the charm of this hilarious and deliciously dark novel. Wu Cheng, a disillusioned playwright and theatre director in his mid-forties, quits his job as a college professor. He is angry at Taipei, he is angry at himself, and most of all, he is angry at his anger. He has left his wife, and he has left behind his circle of theatre friends after getting blind drunk and insulting them at a dinner thrown in his honour. In short, he is having a breakdown. Wu's response is to move to Liuzhangli, a district in Taipei he fondly describes as the “Dead Zone” because the only thing to thrive there are the funeral businesses. There he sets up shop as the first and only private detective in Taiwan. He is not technology-savvy, and his CV is embarrassingly short. His only marketing strategy is to print a stack of business cards, his only training comes in the form of years spent reading detective fiction and hours spent in cafes observing passersby. All he has to rely on is his obsessive attention to detail honed through years of neurosis and depression. After a halting start, and solving his first case, Wu's attention turns to a series of murders that his policeman friend, Big Chen, reveals to him in confidence. The media is yet to pick up on the stories, but there have been two murders close to where Wu lives in the Dead Zone, and the police believe they are linked. This sounds like just the kind of thing that Wu believes he should be 11


The Grayhawk Agency

Fiction

working on, and it is to this he now turns, that is, when not taking romantic trips with his new love interest, the former Mrs Lin, now divorced. The thought of a Taiwanese serial killer fascinates him. What makes a serial killer? And why hasn't there been one before in Taiwan? What makes Taiwan so different from Japan and the US, where serial killings appear with a startlingly high frequency? But suddenly Wu is called in by the police for questioning in connection with the murders. His image has been captured on the ever-present CCTV cameras with two of the victims. Obviously Wu hasn’t committed the crimes, he has no memory of even talking to these people, and yet he is the prime suspect. But could his history of depression-related neurosis be the explanation? Wasn’t he mentally unstable when he jumped onto the table and insulted all his friends at his party? Not only do they have CCTV footage, but they also have two witnesses that claim to have seen him at the scenes of the crimes, wearing his distinctive black fisherman's hat. He's going to have to tell the police of his secret rendezvous with Mrs Lin if the police are going to be convinced that he has an alibi for at least one of the murders. Wu Cheng becomes a man obsessed. He needs to prove his innocence and find out who is behind the murders. But can the perpetrator really be driven by a Buddhist zeal? And why would they want to frame him? Who is this dark person from his past. Part detective story and part social satire, PRIVATE EYES is a literary tour-de-force that will have you turning the pages until the very end. It is a meditation on the nature of serial killers and an insightful study of the crime genre, but most of all it is about the anxiety, passion, and craziness of urban life.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Chi Wei-Jan (b.1954) holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Iowa. He is now Professor of Drama and Theatre at National Taiwan University, as well as a successful playwright. He has written and produced many plays, including MIT: MAD IN TAIWAN (2008), THE MAHJONG GAME Trilogy (1997-2007), REEL MURDERS (2005), UTOPIA LTD (2001) and ONE BED, FOUR PLAYERS (1999). He has also published several books of essays including SERIOUSLY PLAYFUL (2004) and MISUNDERSTANDING SHAKESPEARE (2008). PRIVATE EYES is his first novel. It became a bestseller in Taiwan and went through five printings in only two months.

12


The Grayhawk Agency

Fiction

A comic family tale spiced with Sichuan peppercorns

THE CHILI BEAN-PASTE CLAN 我們家 Yan Ge 顏歌 Selected for People’s Literature Magazine’s Top 20 Under 40 in 2012 Winner of the Chinese Media Awards for Best New Writer 2013

Original Publisher: Shanghai Literature and Art (2013), Material: Chinese manuscript, English sample Length: 134 000 words in Chinese, apprx. 83 000 words in English

A farce of anti-heroes, a Chinese take on the adage, “you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.” THE CHILI BEAN-PASTE CLAN is as irreverent as it is funny, this comedy will leave you warm, as if you’ve just eaten a big bowl of spicy noodle soup. Grandma is turning 80 and she is determined to gather the family to celebrate. Uncle Duan, an unmarried professor living abroad, has to fly back from Europe, and Aunty Lily, a successful TV presenter, is also back in town. But it is Papa, the head of the family’s chili bean-paste business, who is saddled with the responsibility, not only for the party, but for the whole family itself. Grandma is boss, and he does as he’s told. But Papa isn’t exactly a saint. He regularly finds solace in the arms of women other than Mama, and he’s even taken the extraordinary step of installing his latest girlfriend, Jasmine, in a flat above Grandma’s. His secret life begins to unravel, however, when he has a heart attack in Jasmine’s bed and she has to run downstairs to Grandma’s flat to get help. The show must go on, and Papa gets back into preparations. But sibling rivalries are intensifying and all of Grandma’s children are bitter about her domineering ways; Uncle Duan was forced to give up his first love, and Aunty Lily was married off to an odious and philandering guy whom she is determined to divorce. Then Jasmine drops a bomb – she’s pregnant. But is Papa really the father? Papa is beginning to feel the strain. All returns to relative normal, however, until it comes to hanging the decorative calligraphic scrolls the family have commissioned especially. Something in the somewhat obscure wording upsets Grandma and she runs away from the party. But what 13


The Grayhawk Agency

Fiction

exactly has Grandma been hiding all these years? Perhaps she’s not quite the moral exemplar she has been making out...

ABOUT THE AUTHOR A native of Sichuan, Yan Ge (b. 1984) is one of China’s most critically acclaimed young writers. She is currently pursuing a PhD in comparative literature at Sichuan University and was visiting scholar at Duke University from 2011 to 2012, as well as writer in residence at Crossing Border Festival in the Netherlands in November 2012. Yan first started publishing in 1994 at the age of ten and already has ten books to her name, as well as countless short stories in many of China’s most influential national magazines. Her writing has won her a slew of awards, including being named as one of People’s Literature Magazine’s Top 20 Under 40 in 2012 and Best New Writer by the prestigious Chinese New Media Awards in 2013. THE CHILI BEAN-PASTE CLAN is her first novel for adults. Having studied in the US, she speaks fluent English.

14


The Grayhawk Agency

Fiction

China’s answer to THE WIND-UP GIRL

THE WASTE TIDE 荒潮 Stanley Chan 陳秋帆 Winner of the Chinese Nebula Award for Best Novel (2013) Winner of Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation Award along with Ken Liu Winner of Taiwan’s Dragon Fantasy Award

Original Publisher: Changjiang Literature & Art (Jan 2013) Material: Chinese manuscript. Sample English translation. Length: 160 000 Chinese, appx. 100 000 words in English

“Stanley Chan’s THE WASTE TIDE portrays a near future that we all may yet experience with a rare power. The destruction of nature by the invasion of capital, the fusion of man and machine, ethnic conflict; we’ve already begun to witness these phenomenon, and yet here is created a world beyond our imagination. In this world, humans and machines are simultaneously advancing and regressing, creating an epic in which hope and evil exist together. A complex and tense story full of details true to life and full of information and technological description, together it swirls like a typhoon, forming a hitherto unseen horror. This is the pinnacle of near-future SF writing!” Liu Cixin, author of THREE BODIES trilogy, leading Chinese SF writer Mimi is a “waste girl”, a member of the lowest caste on Silicon Isle. Located off China’s southeastern coast, Silicone Isle is the new capital for electronic waste recycling, where thousands of people just like Mimi toil day and night, hoping that one day they too will get to enjoy the wealth they’ve created for their employers, the three families who have ruled the isle for generations. Things change with the arrival of Scott Brando and Chen Kaizong, representatives of Wealth Recycle, who wish to establish a high-tech waste processing plant on the island. Brando, an economic hit man in disguise, is world-weary and harbors a dark secret. Born and bred in the US, the idealistic Kaizong is there only to translate and believes he shares nothing but looks with the people on the isle. While Brando is stuck dealing with local bureaucracy and politics and Mimi and Kaizong fall in love, a dangerous cargo is shipped to Silicon Isle. It is treated as just another load of e-waste, but actually contains a virus born out of one of the darkest episodes of WWII. The virus is the product of Project Waste Tide, an ultra-secret organization within the US Military specializing in 15


The Grayhawk Agency

Fiction

hallucinogenic substances and mind control. After more than half a century’s self-mutation, it has the power to unlock the human brain’s untapped potential, or even to create something more – or less – than human… In a fateful accident, Mimi is infected by the virus, transforming her from simple garbage collector to cyberspace goddess. Her body becomes the carrier of a new entity, an omniscient consciousness hell bent on righting all the wrongs that have been done to her people. As a class war is about to begin, Scott Brando and Kaizong are in a race against time to try to save Mimi. Brando wants to bring her to the US to receive proper treatment, seeing this as his way out of what has become a dirty job, while Kaizong only wants to protect his lover. Family feuds and conspiracy theories, environmental extremists and waste workers, mecha warriors and chipped dogs, all will surface and clash in an apocalyptic battle on Silicon Isle, where the next stage of human evolution has already begun. And there shall be determined the fate of all tomorrow’s parties… Winner of China’s Nebula Award for Best Novel in 2013, THE WASTE TIDE is Stanley Chan’s stunning SF debut and an answer to Paolo Bacigalupi’s THE WIND-UP GIRL. It is a complex and literary tale written in the poetic language of William Gibson and packed with action that brings to mind the famed Japanese anime “Ghost in the Shell”. Beautifully translated by the Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy Award-winning Ken Liu, this is science fiction of the highest order and will surely attract readers across the genre.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Stanley Chan was born in Shantou, Guangdong province. Chan is a science fiction writer, columnist, and online advertising strategist at Google. Since 2004, he has published over thirty stories in Science Fiction World, Esquire, Chutzpah!, many of which are collected in THIN CODE (2012). His debut novel, THE WASTE TIDE, was published in January 2013 and was praised by Liu Cixin as “a masterpiece of near-future science fiction”. Chan is the most widely translated young writer of science fiction in China, with his short works translated into English, Swedish, Italian and Polish and publishing in Clarkesworld, Interzone, Karavan and Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. He has won Taiwan’s Dragon Fantasy Award, China’s Galaxy and Nebula Award, and a Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation Award along with Ken Liu. He lives in Beijing.

16


The Grayhawk Agency

Fiction

National Museum of Taiwan Literature recommended title 2013

THE WAITING ROOM 等候室 Tsou Yung-Shan 鄒永珊 National Museum of Taiwan Literature recommended title 2013 Selected as one of the Taipei Book Fair (TIBE) Books of the Year 2013 for Frankfurt Book Fair

Original Publisher: Muses (January 2013), 216pp Material: Chinese manuscript. Sample English translation. Length: 73 000 Chinese, appx. 50 000 words in English

“The days went by like falling sand. He wasn’t in the mood to decorate his room. He didn’t have a lot of possessions, and settling down wasn’t any trouble, he just had a vague feeling that he could leave this place any time, so his clothes stayed in his suitcase without making their way into the closet. A new place to live, but this didn’t necessarily translate into a new beginning. His being in this room with one mattress one closet one chair one suitcase one pillow and one blanket that he couldn’t really call his own, didn’t naturally give him the ability to start anew.”

Ming-Chang Hsu followed his wife to Germany and now she’s left him, so here he sits, waiting to get a piece of paper that will allow him to stay. They met in college, she was popular and charismatic, he was quiet and always buried in books. No one else understood their relationship, but he let things slide, didn’t notice that things were changing, until one day she just said she was leaving. He didn’t know what to say. So she handed him the divorce papers. And now he waits to hand his documents to Ms Meyer, the woman without a name, who will decide if he can stay. To Ms Meyer, who has worked for twenty years in this office, checking documents and verifying information, these people are not people. They are files. Files to be opened, checked and closed again. One word can describe Ms Meyer, one word droops from her face and weighs down her diabetic legs: weary. She is weary from the endless stream of weary faces which greet her day after weary day. Ming-Chang’s landlady, Mrs. Nesmeyanova, has come to Berlin from Belarus. Mr. Nesmeyanova wants Berlin to be their home, wants his wife to learn German. But she can’t feel at home in her new home. Their son no longer speaks to his father, and instead has his own struggles to fit in, eager to shake his foreignness.

17


The Grayhawk Agency

Fiction

Turkish-German artist Christine creates “Aufzeichnungen” (notes, documents, files). Ming-Chang is captured by her exhibition, and in turn, she is flattered; never has anyone engaged with her art like this before. An invitation back to hers follows. Where rather than take him to bed, she confides in Ming-Chang that she is pregnant and the father of her baby has left. Tsou’s novel plays with repetition, mundanity, and waiting, recalling the classics of existentialism such as Peter Suskind’s THE PIGEON or Albert Camus’ L’ETRANGER, with a hint of “experimental bureaucratic” novels such as B.S. Johnson’s CHRISTIE MALRY’S OWN DOUBLE-ENTRY and David Foster Wallace’s THE PALE KING. Economical, clean and gentle, THE WAITING ROOM recalls the gestural simplicity and power of a Chinese ink painting, being Chinese more in mood rather than content.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Tsou Yung-Shan graduated from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at National Taiwan University, before moving to Germany in 2001 to pursue a graduate degree in art, where she now lives and works as an artist. Her creative work includes painting, calligraphy and writing. Taking inspiration from trivial everyday objects, Tsou has developed a unique material semiotics, which she calls “Aufzeichnungen” (notes). Her work is characterized by the dialogue between image and language, between content and the process of writing. She has also drawn inspiration from the gulf between the German language and her mother tongue, using its more precise grammar to stretch the subtleties of Chinese.

18


The Grayhawk Agency

Fiction

“Simply magnificent”,! The Times THE LAST QUARTER OF THE MOON 額爾古納河右岸

Chi Zijian 遲子建 Winner of the VII Mao Dun Literary Award (2008) Nominated for Chinese Literature Media Award for Best Novelist (2005) A major bestseller in China with over 300 000 copies sold Publisher: October Literature and Art (2006) Material: Chinese manuscript. Full English translation Length: 167,000 words in Chinese, appx. 105,000 words in English Rights sold: Harvill Secker (UK & Commonwealth), Fullon (Taiwan), House of Books (Holland), Corbaccio (Italy), Dulnyok (Korea), Hakusuisha (Japan)

THE LAST QUARTER OF THE MOON is a first-person narrative told from the point of view of an aging Evenki woman in the last years of the 20th century. She chooses to stay behind when her tribe abandons the forested mountains of Northeast China for “civilized” life among town dwellers, where their beloved reindeer will be cooped up like cattle. The book is inspired by the life of the last Evenki woman chieftain and Chi Zijian’s travels in Australia and Ireland. At once a lament for the loss of tribal tradition and a meditation on the destructive power of modernization, THE LAST QUARTER OF THE MOON is ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE re-imagined for Northeast China and told from a female perspective. Exuberantly researched and written in a direct and cinematic style with a touch magic realism, the novel will appeal to readers of Stef Penney, Isabel Allende, and Khaled Hosseini. English translation by Bruce Humes

Reviews from the UK edition, published January 2013 “You get a great deal for your money with this capacious novel, for it is both the private story of one family and a history of China. As a good epic should, it begins with a family tree. At the centre is the 91-year-old narrator, born at the start of the 20th century, who belongs to the nomadic Evenki tribe of northeastern China. “I won’t sleep in a room where I can’t see the stars,” she says. Zijian has an extraordinary gift for storytelling and her steely narrator is a true heroine, surviving war and encroaching modernity. Simply magnificent.” The Times

19


The Grayhawk Agency

Fiction

“The Last Quarter of the Moon is about a life, and a lifestyle, as distant from ours as you can imagine; and entirely different from what English-readers might have come to expect of a Chinese novel. But the story is masterfully told, with simplicity and empathy, in a direct and credible voice that not only feels unlike a translation, but unlike a fiction at all.” The Independent on Sunday

“Chi Zijian's beautifully realised novel offers a detailed portrait of a way of life hard to imagine today.” The Independent “Chi Zijian's insight into the life of the Evenki tribe is truly remarkable. The reader not only learns much about a shamanistic culture and the rituals surrounding birth, marriage and death but also how to hunt bear and to live with the reindeer.” The Book Trust

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Chi Zijian is the only Chinese writer to have won the prestigious Lu Xun Literary Award three times for her outstanding short fiction. With THE LAST QUARTER OF THE MOON, she won the Mao Dun Literary Award, the highest honor for a novelist in China. She is the first writer from Northeast China to have won this award.

20


The Grayhawk Agency

Fiction

A unique love story set in the wilds of Tibet

CANTICLE TO THE LAND 大地雅歌 Fan Wen 范穩 A China Reading Post Best Book of the Year (2010) A China Daily Best Novel of the Year (2010) Nominated for the VIII Mao Dun Literary Award (2012)

Publisher: October Literature and Art (June, 2010) 430pp Material: Chinese manuscript, English sample Length: 280,000 words in Chinese, appx. 200,000 words in English

Rights sold: Storm & Stress (Taiwan)

Ten years in the making, CANTICLE TO THE LAND is an extraordinary achievement in contemporary Chinese fiction. Set in the border region of Tibet and China’s Yunnan Province, it tells the story of a love triangle between a bandit, a minstrel, and a noble woman, whose lives are forever changed by the Christian faith. It is also the story of the unlikely friendship between a boy tulku (living Buddha) and a Catholic missionary from Switzerland, who seek to understand each other's religion and world view. The story begins in the early twentieth century, when a wondering minstrel falls in love with a Tibetan chieftain’s beautiful sister-in-law and elopes with her. Fearing the chieftain’s wrath, they seek shelter at a Catholic church across the Lancang River (Salwyn River) Canyon, and eventually convert. The minstrel is given the name of Steven, and his wife, Maria. Kelzang Dorje, a Robin Hood-like bandit and the chieftain’s bastard son, is ordered to bring the lovers back, but he also falls for Maria at first sight and leaves without taking her prisoner. He vows to come back and win her heart. Later he gives up the life of an outlaw, converts to Catholicism and is renamed, most fittingly, Augustine. Following the fate of these characters, we witness the tumultuous history of Tibet: the change of government from the Qing Dynasty to the Nationalists, and finally to the Communists; the downfall of the once-powerful chieftains; and the clash between Tibetan Buddhism and Catholicism. They are bound together by their shared love and faith, but it is also love and faith that drive them apart: Steven becomes a fugitive and flees to India, and eventually on to Taiwan where he spends the next forty years of his life. Augustine becomes first a hero of the Communist army, then condemned as the class enemy during the Cultural Revolution. Maria is torn between the memory of Steven, her lawful husband, and the presence of Augustine, whose love is so close and so steadfast. 21


The Grayhawk Agency

Fiction

CANTICLE TO THE LAND is also the story of Dhondup the boy tulku and his friendship with Father DuBois, a Catholic missionary. While most Tibetan Lamas remain hostile to the priest, curiosity gets the better of Dhondup and he opens the door to the monastery for DuBois, who in turn brings him many inventions of the West, including a pair of glasses that makes Dhondup “see” afar, and the magic of photography. DuBois is determined to establish a beachhead for his faith in the land of snows, but it is a dangerous mission that will end in bloodshed and cost him his life… This is an absolutely amazing novel, rich in texture and narrative style - the author tells the story in fifty-two chapters, using first person narrative, diary, letter, third-person perspective, even using the perspective of an ancient nut tree as observer. There are great characters; in addition to the triangle of main characters and the boy tulku, there is a hunchback leper who becomes the most faithful guardian of the church, a Catholic priest from Switzerland who relocates to Taiwan to teach the aboriginal people, even a “god of love” who appears as a warrior in white armor riding a white horse. Based on a true story and years of research, CANTICLE TO THE LAND is a sweeping historical novel that rivals Ken Follett’s THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH in scope and ambition. It also brings to mind the quest for spirituality and tragic power of THE MISSION.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Fan Wen (b.1962) is a devout Catholic who has spent ten years traveling throughout Tibet. The results are three highly-acclaimed historical novels. The first book, HARMONIOUS LAND (2004), explores the fascinating and largely unknown history of French Catholic missionaries in Tibet, selling over 100,000 copies and earning nominations for China’s two most prestigious prizes, the Mao Dun and “Dream of the Red Chamber”. The second book, COMPASSIONATE LAND (2006), chronicles an ordinary man’s transformation from mortal to tulku (Living Buddha), with a heavy dose of magic realism. It was nominated for the Chinese Literature Media Award for best novel. The last book in the trilogy, CANTICLE OF THE LAND, continues the dialogue between religions, ethnicity, and cultures, but the theme has turned towards intimacy and romantic love It was chosen as one of the ten best books of 2010 by Sina.com, and is the only literary novel on the list.

22


The Grayhawk Agency

Fiction

Rights to previous novel sold in eleven territories

MAIL ORDER BRIDE 郵購新娘 Zhang Ling 張玲 Multi award-winning novelist Film AFTERSHOCK, based on a novella by Zhang Ling, was China’s highest grossing film of 2010

Publisher: Writer’s Publishing House (2004) Material: Chinese manuscript. English sample translation

Rights sold: Asian Culture (Taiwan)

When Jamie Lin, a poor Chinese immigrant in Toronto, receives a substantial insurance payment after his wife dies in a car accident, he decides to use half the money to start a café, and sends the other half to Snowflake, his mother-in-law in Shanghai. Deeply moved, Snowflake decides to find Jamie another wife, and sends Juanjuan, a failed art student with ambitions to become a fashion designer, on a journey across the ocean to become a mail-order bride. But who is Juanjuan? Or more importantly, who is her mother and what’s her relationship with Snowflake? The story of MAIL-ORDER BRIDE goes back in time to the early 1940s, to the countryside of Wenzhou, China, where an orphaned girl grows up to become a famous Chinese opera singer, and whose tragic marriage with a Communist Party officer plants to seed for Jamie and Juanjuan’s union. Like a Chinese box puzzle, MAIL-ORDER BRIDE threads between the past and the present, revealing connections between the characters, telling the story of three generations of Chinese women as they strive to carve out a place for themselves in the turbulent world. Rights to Ling Zhang’s previous novel, GOLD MOUNTAIN BLUES (2009), has sold to the UK, Germany, Holland, France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Israel, Korea, and Taiwan. It was translated into English by Nicky Harman and published in Canada by Penguin Canada in October, 2011. Her novella, THE AFTERSHOCK, as made into a movie directed by Feng Xiaogang and became the highest-grossing Chinese movie in 2010. Zhang lives in Toronto. English sample translation by Nicky Harman

23


GOLD MOUNTAIN BLUES 金山 Winner of the China Times Open Book Award 2010 Winner of VIII Chinese Literature Media Award Novelist of the Year 2010 Winner of the inaugural Zhongshan Overseas Chinese Literary Award 2009 A China Reading Post Best Book of the Year 2009 Publisher: October Literature & Art (2009) Material: Chinese manuscript and full English translation

Rights sold: Viking Penguin (Canada), Corvus (UK & Commonwealth), China Times (Taiwan), Signatuur (Holland), Piemme (Italy), Belfond (France), Destino (Spain), Oceanidas (Greece), Schoeffling (Germany), Keter (Israel), Kumto (Korea). In the epic storytelling tradition of Amy Tan and Jiang Rong comes GOLD MOUNTAIN BLUES, a rich saga chronicling the lives of five generations of a Chinese family from Guandong Province transformed by the promise of a better life in Gold Mountain, the Chinese name for Canada’s majestic West Coast. In 1879, 16-year-old Fong Tak-Fat boards a ship to Canada determined to make a life for himself and support his family back home. He will blast rocks for the Pacific Railway, launder linens for his countrymen, and save every penny he makes to reunite his family―because his heart remains in China. Spanning from the 1860s to the present day, GOLD MOUNTAIN BLUES relates the struggles and sacrifices of the laborers who built the Canadian Pacific Railway and who laid the groundwork for the evolution of the modern Chinese-Canadian identity. A novel about family, hope and sacrifice, GOLD MOUNTAIN BLUES is a marvelous saga from a remarkable new Canadian voice.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Zhang Ling was born in 1957 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province in China and moved to Canada in 1986. She is the multi-award-winning author of four novels and three collections of short stories. She currently lives in Toronto.

24


The Grayhawk Agency

Fiction

Over 3 million copies sold in China!

UNDER THE HAWTHORN TREE 山

樹之戀 Ai Mi 艾米 An Asia Weekly Best Novel of the Year (2007) Winner of Dangdai Readers’ Choice Award for Best Novel (2007) A phenomenal bestseller with over 3 million copies sold in China alone Film by China’s premier director Zhang Yimou Publisher: Jiangsu Literature & Art (2007) Material: Chinese manuscript. Full English translation Length: 210 000 words in Chinese, apprx 130 000 words in English

Rights sold: Virago Press (UK & Commonwealth), ThinKingdom (Taiwan), JMA (Japan), Rizzoli (Italy), House of Anansi (Canada), Leya (Brazil), Belfond (France), Orlando (Holland), Suma(Spain), Gyldendal (Norway), Psichogios (Greece), Bonniers (Sweden), Munhakdongne (Korea), Thai Post (Thailand), Armchair (Israel). Politikens (Denmark)

In the late seventies, after the Cultural Revolution, a young girl, Jingqiu, falls passionately in love with a boy nicknamed 'Old Three'. Jingqiu is from a politically suppressed family, while Three is the son of a mighty army general. Their budding romance is cut short by fate; Three dies before there is an ending for them, happy or otherwise. Jingqiu eventually leaves China but she never forgets Three, the man who loved her with a passion so pure that she believed it could last forever. Transcending the boundaries between fact and fiction, Ai Mi has brought together for the first time Jingqiu's tragic story - these are her diaries and notebooks. Ai Mi started posting UNDER THE HAWTHORN TREE online in 2007, and it quickly became the reading sensation of the year. People in their fifties, who experienced the Cultural Revolution firsthand, saw themselves in Jingqiu and Old Three. Young people born in the 80s and 90s, on the other hand, were moved by the purity of their love, which is all the more precious in a time when sex is easy and everywhere. The film version, directed by internationally renowned Zhang Yimou (RAISE THE RED LANTERN, TO LIVE, and HERO), Zhang Yimou’s first literary adaptation in ten years. English translation by Anna Holmwood

25


The Grayhawk Agency

Non-fiction

26


The Grayhawk Agency

Non-fiction

China from the inside, a voice daring to make itself heard

PAPER TIGER? Reflections on China, 2002-2012 偽裝的盛世 Xu Zhiyuan 許知遠 Columnist for the Chinese edition of The Financial Times Five reprintings within 6 months of publication

Publisher: Eight Flags (2012) Material: Chinese manuscript. English sample translation Length: 180 000 Chinese, apprx 110 000 words in English

Presenting the full, uncensored Taiwanese edition. Just as the author intended. Beijing 2002. A young journalist of 25 could feel the excitement in the air; this promised to be China’s century and his generation was uniquely placed to not only observe this historic shift in the global balance of power, but to contribute, to be part of making the new China. Beijing 2012. That same young man is now ten years older and has spent the last decade traveling the breadth of this vast nation, reporting on what he was seen in China’s top magazines and international newspapers such as The Financial Times. Ten years on, and the China before him is no longer a source of optimism but of quiet despair. What has become of the promise of China’s economic development? Living standards are rising, but the majority of Chinese are directing their energies into the pursuit of money rather than anything of more spiritual or intellectual substance. For those who do dare to engage, friends and colleagues are being pressured out of their jobs, or worse, locked up. Split into 5 sections, PAPER TIGER? starts with a slideshow of different characters, “China’s 1.3 billion Faces”, taking in the young idealist, the migrant worker, the older dissident, the stock market gambler, the politician and even the author’s own modest father, concerned for his journalist son’s safety. Section two, “Sights and Sounds” moves on to describe the many stages upon which China’s great transformation is taking place, from a typical day in Beijing’s Silicon district or an evening spent on Tiananmen Square before the anniversary of the massacre before it shuts down like it does every year for June 4, to a cruise down the Three Gorges and a tour of the special economic zones of the south. Section 3, “Earthquakes and Banquets” is a fresh look at the 27


two big moments which did most to shape the last decade, China’s hosting of the Olympics and the Sichuan earthquake. But what do they say about a China changing? In section 4, “Fear and Fearlessness”, Xu turns his attention to China’s dissenters, the people who dare to stand up for their beliefs and who have found themselves locked up for it, from Liu Xiaobo and Ai Weiwei to Chen Guangcheng. Such absurd reactions by the Chinese government, Xu argues, only shows how fearful it has become of its own people. Lastly, section 5, “Anger and Absurdity”, highlights some of the most remarkable and memorable news stories of the last decade, from Feng Jianmei whose forced abortion made headlines around the world, to scandals that rocked the country but that most of us outside China didn’t hear about, like the Shandong official who blew his lover to death in order to prevent her from making their illicit relationship known. Critical but never polemical, PAPER TIGER? is a thoughtful series of mini essays on contemporary Chinese society, a “State of the Nation 2012” that acknowledges there is no credible master narrative capable of explaining this complex place. Xu Zhiyuan’s vision is international, being well-versed in the global reporting on China, but he understands his homeland in a way that no foreign correspondent could hope to, making this a unique insider view on China that is both measured and brave, ambitious in scope and deeply personal. Presented in a series of short snapshots of people, places, events historical and mundane, Xu creates a kaleidoscopic portrait of a country changing reminiscent of Joan Didion’s groundbreaking literary journalism, a tentative plea that things might improve and a lament at opportunities lost.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Xu Zhiyuan is one of China’s keenest observers, a journalist deeply committed to his profession and the craft of writing. Born in Beijing in 1976, he graduated from Peking University with a degree in Computer Science. He later became a reporter and started writing about contemporary China. Xu was chief editor at the Economic Observer and is currently editor-in-chief of the Chinese edition of Business Weekly and writes columns for Yazhou Zhoukan  and the British Financial Times. One of China’s best-known public intellectuals, Xu is distinguished by his firm critical stance, profound cultural knowledge, and idiosyncratic writing style. Xu was a visiting scholar at the University of Cambridge from 2009 to 2010 and took part in the Australian Festival of Travel Writing in 2013. He has published 11 books so far, including THE TOTALITARIAN TEMPTATION, ALL THE SAD YOUNG MEN, STRANGER IN MY HOMELAND, THE NASDAQ GENERATION, and AN IMMATURE NATION, which together forms his own person “eyes on China” series. He is the co-founder of One-Way Street Library.

28


OUR CO-AGENTS US/Canada: Non-Exclusive UK & Commonwealth: Capel & Land Literary Agency Germany: Liepman Agency France: Anna Jarota Agency Holland: Marianne SchÜnbach Literary Agency Italy: Piergiorgio Nicolazzini Literary Agency Spain & Portugal: International Editors’ Co Scandinavia & Brazil: Lennart Sane Agency Russia: The Van Lear Agency Romania: Simona Kessler International Copyright Agency Czech: Kristin Olson Literary Agency Poland, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia, Slovenia & Slovakia: Graal Literary Agency Israel: Deborah Harris Agency Turkey: Kalem Literary Agency Japan: Non-Exclusive Korea: Danny Hong Agency Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam: Direct

29

grayhawk-fbf-2013-hot-list