Independent Press Award
Into the Desert
This is the story of two women in Western China in the 1990s, on the edge of the Gobi Desert, near the site of the ancient Silk Road. Bound together by both poverty and tradition, they embark upon a perilous journey to change their lives. In Into the Desert, acclaimed Chinese author Xuemo has recreated a bygone village in Gansu province in Western China, a place where camels are as common as automobiles and potatoes replace rice. With his discerning eye for desert landscape, a fine ear for colorful local expressions, and an acute sensitivity to the inner world of his characters, the reader is led on a fantastic journey where hope and tragedy go hand in hand, and where centuries of tradition both suppress and compel the forces of change. Translated from the Chinese by Howard Goldblatt and Sylvia Li-chun Lin, whose previous work includes numerous works of fiction by popular Chinese writers.