The Mudd Up Book Clubb rolls into 2015 with a Chinese communist crime novel about a poet-cop!
We’ll meet on Sunday January 25 to discuss Qiu Xiaolong’s Death of a Red Heroine.
Set in early 1990s Shanghai, the novel uses the form of a police procedural to portray Chinese society in transition, old Maoists and new money, with lots of Tang dynasty poetry quotations and T.S. Eliot allusions thrown in for good measure. There’s a healthy attention to food, too. Central character Inspector Chen is a Modernist poet and translator, not unlike the author…
Qiu Xiaolong was the first person to translate Eliot into Chinese. He was in the US working on an Eliot book when Tiananmen Sq broke out, prompting him to stay on to remain out of trouble… He still lives in St.Louis. As explained in this interview, Qiu writes his books in English, despite the difficulty–and censors scrub politically sensitive phrases and all specific place references from the Chinese translations!
Death of a Red Heroine. Go here to buy it from local publishers Soho.