Zhang Yueran was born in 1982 the city of Jinan, Shandong Province. She began writing at the age of 14, and as a high school student, won first prize in the nationwide New Concept Composition Competition. After studying English and law at Shandong University, she completed a graduate degree in computer science at Singapore University. Zhang Yueran is regarded as one of China's most influential young writers. She has published two short story collections: Sunflower Missing In 1890 (2003) and Ten Loves (2004), and three novels: Distant Cherry (2004), Narcissus (2005) and The Promise Bird (2006), which was named the Best Saga Novel 2006. Her other awards include the Chinese Press Most Promising New Talent Award (2005), the Spring Literature Prize (2006), and the "MAO-TAI Cup" People's Literature Prize (2008). In 2012, she was named by Unitas magazine as one of the top 20 writers under 40. She has been the chief editor of Newriting since 2008 and holds a PhD in Ancient Chinese Literature from Renmin University.
The blind woman Chun Chi has a secret. Accompanied only by her The Memory Is So Beautiful That We Will Crash Soul for It adopted son Xiao Xing and a eunuch, she lives in a crumbling house stacked with boxes of seashells. But what does she hope to gain from them? Why does she keep going out to sea? How did she lose her sight? Seeking answers, Xiao Xing goes on a quest to uncover her past, which takes him on a journey far from home and into the jungles of Java. Set in the early fifteenth century, when Ming Emperor Yongle sent fleets of Chinese ships to explore Southeast Asia, entangling the two regions, The Promise Bird flits between the frozen north Chinese winter and the blazing heat of the tropics. An uncompromising novel about devotion that borders on obsession, and a love that tips into madness.
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