by Jia Pingwa
Pub Date 03 May 2019
Talking about this book? Be sure to tag it using #BrokenWings #NetGalley
Broken Wings tells the harrowing story of Butterfly, who is kidnapped and taken to a mountain village in which all the young women have left for the city. There, she is imprisoned and, later, raped in the cave home of the wifeless farmer who has bought her. These traumatic events and Butterfly's fading hopes of escape are described in her own voice, revealing a spirited young woman struggling to adjust to her new life.
Evening, I made my one hundred and seventy-eighth scratch on the cave wall.
Despite her humble rural beginnings, Butterfly regards herself as a sophisticated young woman. So, when offered a lucrative job in the city, she jumps at the chance.
But instead of being given work, she is trafficked and sold to Bright Black, a desperate man from a poor mountain village.
Trapped in Bright’s cave home with her new “husband”, she plans her escape… not so easily done in this isolated and remote village where she is watched day and night.
Will her tenacity and free spirit survive, or will she be broken?
Jia Pingwa (1952- ) stands with Mo Yan and Yu Hua as one of the biggest names in contemporary Chinese literature. A prolific producer of novels, short stories and essays, he has a huge following on the Chinese mainland, as well as in Hong Kong and Taiwan. An early English translation of his 1988 novel Turbulence by Howard Goldblatt won the Mobil Pegasus Prize for Literature. In 1997, his 1993 bestseller Ruined City was first published abroad in French as La Capitale déchue (Abandoned Capital), translated by Genevieve Imbot-Bichet. It was published in English translation in January 2016, again by Howard Goldblatt, this time as part of the Chinese Literature Today Book Series. Happy Dreams, translated by Nicky Harman, and The Lantern Bearer, translated by Carlos Rojas, were published in 2017.
Jia Pingwa's fiction focuses on the lives of common people, particularly in his home province of Shaanxi, and is well-known for being unafraid to explore the realm of the sexual. Ruined City was banned for many years for that same reason, and pirated copies sold on the street for several thousand yuan apiece. The novel was finally unbanned in 2009, one year after Jia won the Mao Dun Award for his 2005 novel Shaanxi Opera.