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The Blood Red Sun

by Wu Kejing

Madame Spots is lauded for setting up a free school in her village, but her seductive silk qipao and obvious wealth elicit deadly envy as well as admiration. The Phoenix Widow finds a jar of ingots but loses her precious son to wily and, ultimately, unwise kidnappers. Little Spoon stumbles into Running Cow Valley Village with two pails on her water pole and inadvertently becomes a hero to people parched of leadership. Feng Laicai, a diminutive farmer with a life of bad luck behind him, is suddenly thrust into the spotlight, thanks to a scholarly goat.

Set in the counties of the Western Plain, these bleak yet beautiful stories shed an incisive light on the extraordinary lives of colourful people. While closely observing the triumphs and tragedies of a cast of unforgettable characters, the ten stories that make up this important collection also bear witness to the evolution of rural China from the early days of the 20th century to the late 1980s, skillfully illustrating the often brutal battle between tradition and progress.

This book is part of Shaanxi Stories, a series of translated works by acclaimed authors from the Shaanxi province of China, produced by Valley Press in collaboration with Northwest University, Xi’an. The series editors are Hu Zongfeng and Robin Gilbank.


Wu Kejing was born in 1954 in Fufeng County, Baoji, Shaanxi Province, not far from the ancient Famen Buddhist Temple. Originally a carpenter by training, he graduated from the Department of Chinese Literature at Northwest University, and has been described by Jia Pingwa as a “late bloomer.”

A prolific essayist, story-writer and calligrapher of note, he has served as Vice Chairman of the Shaanxi Writers Association and Chairman of the Xi’an Writers Association. His novellas include Five Maidens of the River Wei, Five Flavours Crossroad and The Handcuffs with Blue Flowers (winner of the Lu Xun Prize). Wu Kejing’s novel The First Marriage was adapted for television to great acclaim in 2018.

A collection of his short stories translated into English, The Blood Red Sun, was published by Valley Press in 2019.


Edition: First

Date Published: 2019-07-01

ISBN: 9781912436170

Catalogue Number: VP0137

Number of Pages: 214

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