“Like all Hong Ying’s work, K is written with a wonderfully intense simplicity—it’s tough, uncompromising, direct and tense with strong emotion, but also full of poetry and grace.”—Andrew Motion
Sold by her uncle in 1907 to the First Salon of Gifted Girls, a reputable brothel, sixteen-year-old Cassia is plucked from the ranks of servant girl by a powerful client. Power Chang is the boss of the fearsome Shanghai Triad. In spite of her large feet and pendulous breasts, both unbound, Cassia swiftly becomes his favorite mistress and enjoys her first passionate encounters as well as her first taste of luxurious living.
The story follows Cassia after the violent death of Power Chang and her subsequent rise to “godmother” of Shanghai. She not only seduces the next Triad boss, Huang, after he hears her opera troupe, but also his lacky, Yu, who replaces the murdered Huang as the next Triad leader.
This novel will appeal to anyone interested in China, triad politics and history, and the position of women as sexual slaves to men in Shanghai’s houses of ill repute.
Hong Ying grew up in the 1960s in the slums of Chongquing on the Yangtze River in China. An author and poetess, she is best known in the English-speaking world for her novels K: The Art of Love, Peacock Cries, Summer of Betrayal, and her autobiography, Daughter of the River.