Author Lu Nei is an unlikely prophet: this book has been adapted into a major motion picture in China and has been critically acclaimed as “China’s Catcher in the Rye,” but his origins as a writer were not so lofty. Born and raised in an industrial city in eastern China, he worked many jobs before finding success as a novelist, including a stint at the saccharin factory that inspired this semiautobiographical novel. From a young age his gift for words drew attention, but his teachers’ encouragement to work in the propaganda department hit him, as it does his character Lu Xiaolu, “right in the Achilles heel.” So instead he worked a regular job and followed the path set before him, but always found time to explore his creativity.
The ambition that drives Lu Nei to write is innate, and it’s personal. His story is poetically simple in its honesty: by elevating one man’s journey through life, Lu Nei illustrates our universal potential to come into our own with eyes and heart open to the world.
- Gabriella Page-Fort, Editor