Qiu Xiaolong was born in Shanghai, China. He published prize-winning poetry, translation and criticism in Chinese in the eighties, and became a member of the Chinese Writers' Association. In 1988, he came to the
United States as a Ford Foundation Fellow, started writing in English,
and obtained a Ph.D. in comparative literature at Washington University.
He is the author of Death of a Red Heroine (2000), A Loyal Character Dancer (2002), When Red Is Black (2004), A Case of Two Cities (2006), Red Mandarin Dress (2007), The Mao Case (2009), Don't Cry, Tai Lake (2012), Enigma of China (2013), Shanghai Redemption (2015), and Becoming Inspector Chen (in French and Italian, 2016 and 2017) in the critically acclaimed, award-winning Inspector Chen series; a collection of linked stories Years of Red Dust (serialized in Le Monde first, 2010); three poetry translations, Treasury of Chinese Love Poems (2003), Evoking
T'ang (2007) and 100 Classic Chinese Poems (2010); and his own poetry collections, Lines Around China (2003) and Poems of Inspector Chen (2016). Qiu's books have sold over two million copies worldwide and have been published in twenty languages. He currently lives in St. Louis with
his wife and daughter.
Visit the Author's website here.
Real drama inspires crime author
By Xu Qin | May 22, 2016, Sunday
“I always wanted to smuggle some poems into my stories,” said Qiu. “My publisher first disagreed with me, but I persuaded him by saying that in classical Chinese thrillers, it’s always the poems that give the clues.”
NiGHTSTAND READS - on the blog
is reading Death of a Red Heroine by Qui Xaiolong for February Book Club.
The novel was published in English in 2000 and set in Shanghai, China after the cultural revolution. We typically don’t read detective style murder mysteries for book club but The Red Heroine is not your typical murder mystery.Yes, there is a murder and a detective who is the main character.
Newly appointed Chief Inspector Chen Cao leads the special case squad, Homicide Division, Shanghai Police Bureau is no ordinary cop. He has the heart of a poet. He writes, translates, and recites poetry for extra cash and has the amazing ability to come up with a stanza or two for just about any situation.
His team takes on a case that on first look appears to be a routine murder only to discover the victim is a celebrated “national model worker named Guan Hongying. Detective Chen thinks:
”After examining her room, he thinks of this public woman, “A young woman, Guan must also have experienced her moments of surging loneliness – sudden sleeplessness, in that small dorm room of hers. The ending of a poem by Matthew Arnold came swelling to him in the night air.
Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! For the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain.
And we are here, as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.
It was a poem he had translated years earlier. The broken and uneven lines, as well as the abrupt, almost surrealist transitions and juxtapositions, had appealed to him."
The above is just a taste of what you have in store for your reading pleasure.
Talking Point: Qiu Xiaolong