I was given the opportunity to read and review this book through the amazing website NetGalley. Thanks to them as well as the team at Grove Atlantic for sending me a proof copy!
Title: The Day the Sun Died
Author: Yan Lianke
Publisher/s: Grove Atlantic, Grove Press
Genre: General Fiction (Adult)
Publication date: 21rst December 2018
In a little village nestled in the Balou mountains, fourteen-year-old Li Niannian and his parents run a funeral parlor. One evening, he notices a strange occurrence. Instead of preparing for bed, more and more neighbors appear in the streets and fields, carrying on with their daily business as if the sun hadn’t already set. Li Niannian watches, mystified. As hundreds of residents are found dreamwalking, they act out the desires they’ve suppressed during waking hours. Before long, the community devolves into chaos, and it’s up to Li Niannian and his parents to save the town before sunrise.
Set over the course of one increasingly bizarre night,The Day the Sun Died is a propulsive, darkly sinister tale set against the national optimism of the Chinese dream.
- The scope of the novel is vast and at times this caused me to lose interest if I’m honest, it caused me to stop and start but I was committed to see it through as the plot description intrigued me so much. I always enjoy reading novels which merge elements of fantasy or magic with realism. ‘
- The novel wasn’t character or plot driven as it deals with somewhat larger ideas and is more a critique of the society, which is another reason it took me a little longer to read.
- The novel is concerned with the idea of ‘The Chinese Dream’, which means a set of ideals and hopes which the public are striving towards. It can be compared to the American dream, although it is quite different in it’s details from the research I did after reading the book. I found this quite interesting.
- It is apparent in the novel that Lianke is writing a critique or satire about the state of the Chinese dream and Chinese society, which is why it has not been published in mainland China.
- I was a bit frustrated by the constant repetition that Lianke used, and certain literary devices. I’m not sure if this is a stylistic choice but I didn’t really enjoy it.
Overall while there were certainly some interesting elements of the novel, such as the political and social commentary, it’s not a work of fiction which I would pick up again. However I’m glad I read it and it opened my eyes to a different culture, issues and writing style.
Until next time,