Chen Xiwo

Born in 1963, CHEN XIWO is a native of Fujian Province. After graduating from Fujian University, he lived in Japan from 1989 to 1994. He first worked as a ‘mamasan’ in a Tokyo brothel before starting a career as Professor of comparative literature. A characteristic theme of his writing is sexual and political corruption. In June 2007, the China Customs intercepted the galley proof of The Book of Sins mailed to the author by his Taiwanese publisher. Chen launched a legal case against the Chinese government for banning the book and an uproar exploded in the media at the absurdity of a writer having his own book confiscated. He lost the case. 

Due to Chen’s refusal to compromise about his often controversial writing, it was nearly 20 years before his books could be published in China. An English PEN Award winner, The Book of Sins is the first of Chen Xiwo’s works to be published in English.



The Book of Sins

Banned in China, The Book of Sins is an unforgettable journey to the dark side of the human psyche.

Seven linked novellas offer readers a disturbingly brilliant take on rape, incest, S&M, impotence, and voyeurism and explore the relationship between sexual and political control and deviance.

In I Love My Mum, a disabled man shares a bed with his mother and is arrested for murder. One of Chen’s most famous novellas, incest is used as a metaphor for a dysfunctional society. 

In Kidney Tonic, a resident of an exclusive gated community indulges in voyeuristic fantasies about the sex lives of his neighbours. 

In Going To Heaven, the son of a village undertaker tries to convince his friend to enter a suicide pact.

Banned in China, The Book of Sins is a terrifying exploration of the human psyche and will appeal to fans of fiction by the likes of Irving Welsh and early Ian McEwan.

Translated by award-winning Nicky Harman, The Book of Sins brings a courageous and outspoken Chinese novelist to wider prominence.



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