Author(s): Xiaolu Guo
In a flat above a noisy north London market, translator Iona Kirkpatrick starts work on a Chinese letter: Dearest Mu, The sun is piercing, old bastard sky. I am feeling empty and bare. Nothing is in my soul, apart from the image of you. I am writing to you from a place I cannot tell you about yet. In a detention centre in Dover exiled Chinese musician Jian is awaiting an unknown fate. In Beijing his girlfriend Mu sends desperate letters to London to track him down, her last memory of them together a roaring rock concert and Jian the king on stage. Until the state police stormed in. As Iona unravels the story of these Chinese lovers from their first flirtations at Beijing University to Jian's march in the Jasmine Revolution, Jian and Mu seem to be travelling further and further away from each other while Iona feels more and more alive. Intoxicated by their romance, Iona sets out to bring them back together, but time seems to be running out.
Two lovers, separated by oceans and an oppressive political regime, desperate to find their way back to each other.
Xiaolu Guo was born in China and now lives in London. She is the author of Village of Stone (the translation was shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award); A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers which was shortlisted for the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction and has been translated into twenty-four languages, 20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth which was long-listed for the Man Asian Literary Prize, UFO in her Eyes, recently made into an award-winning film by Xiaolu herself, and a collection of short stories, Lovers in the Age of Indifference. Xiaolu Guo is a successful filmmaker of feature films and documentaries; her work has premiered all over the world, most recently at the Venice Film Festival. In 2013 she was named as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists.