Hong Kong, 2012. Dimitri Johnson learns that he is dying. Stunned by his doctor’s prognosis, he nevertheless makes his ritual annual pilgrimage to the candlelight vigil for the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre. But this year, he thinks, may be his last. So little time remains.
Over on the mainland, Chinese academic Yu Guodong is arrested for protesting against an official land grab in his ancestral village. Guodong’s wife appeals to Dimitri’s family for help, but taking on the forces of the state is fraught with danger. And isn’t it simply a fool’s errand, anyway?
A powerful family drama set against the backdrop of the burgeoning protest movement that led to Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution, Chinese Spring explores the reality of democracy and dissent in modern China. And begs the question: have things really changed for the post-Tiananmen generation?
REVIEWS OF Chinese Spring
“Prescient in its themes, or rather, aware of the ebbs and flows of history and the place of the individual inside of it, Chinese Spring is a document of past, present and future of Hong Kong’s problems, told through the eyes of a person who belongs to Hong Kong but as an outsider. Relentless in its vision, Chinese Spring is a welcome addition to the catalogue of social realist novels, as well as the tomes of novel-as-philosophical inquiry.” Kiran Bhat, Cha, An Asian Literary Journal (24 Aug 2020)
“An affecting family drama with a cast of interesting and well-drawn characters. New creates a touching, melancholic atmosphere and the pages slip by with ease. There is a haunting quality to the novel, and it lingers in the memory.” The Herald
“Full of drama, combining politics and family dynamics … a thoroughly emotive and engaging read and it was difficult not to be swept up in the significant historical moments.” Rhianon Holley, Buzz magazine