Contemporary Beijing comes alive in the hands of a young literary star
*A STYLIST BEST BOOK OF 2020*
One autumn morning after breakfast, when she finds her husband dead in the bathtub, Jia Jia's life changes in ways she could never have imagined...
‘So elegant and poised, so tuned to the great mysteries of love and loss. Braised Pork is a major debut’ -- John Freeman
One morning in autumn, just after breakfast, Jia Jia finds her husband dead in the bathtub of their Beijing apartment. Next to him is a piece of folded paper, a sketch of a strange creature from his dream. He has left her no other sign.
Young, alone, and with many unanswered questions, Jia Jia sets out to discover what this this mysterious clue might mean. From the high-rises to the hidden bars of contemporary Beijing, she crosses paths with people who call the city home, including someone who may be able to offer her the love she had long thought impossible. Her journey takes her to the high plains of Tibet, and even to a shadowy, watery otherworld, a place she both yearns for and fears.
Cinematic, dreamlike and very beautiful, Braised Pork is an exploration of myth-making, loss, and a world beyond words, and of a young woman's search deep into her past in order to arrive at her future.
'Bold yet understated, Braised Pork is the debut of a supremely confident and gifted writer' Katie Kitamura
'What a singular, slippery, transfixing novel this is. An Yu achieves a hypnotizing emotional clarity as she takes her narrator ever further from a stifling life in Beijing into a watery realm unlike any I've read before.' Idra Novey
'This exquisite novel is many things: a detective story in which the real object of pursuit is how one makes meaning of a sometimes ineffable existence; a meditation on the talismanic power of art and the indefatigability of the human spirit; and a many-faceted, perfectly cut gem of psychological portraiture set in well-wrought sentences burnished to a gorgeous luster. The emotions in this book keep pace with you, shadowing you with a quiet intensity, until in the last stretch they overtake you completely.' Matthew Thomas
“So elegant and poised, so tuned to the great mysteries of love and loss. Like a breeze on a still day, An Yu’s is a voice I didn't know I needed until I felt it. Braised Pork is a major debut”
“Braised Pork is mesmerising, incisive and utterly disarming. An Yu writes beautifully about loneliness, the experience of isolation — from others, from one’s own past — and the possibility of human connection, however fragile.”
“Bold yet understated, Braised Pork is the debut of a supremely confident and gifted writer.”
“What a singular, slippery, transfixing novel this is. An Yu achieves a hypnotizing emotional clarity as she takes her narrator ever further from a stifling life in Beijing into a watery realm unlike any I've read before.”
“An elegant, dreamlike tale of a woman’s self-realisation in contemporary Beijing… a superb character study of a woman unrooted… Yu’s writing has an arresting, unadorned lyricism… In this searching, slippery novel, ambiguity is everything”
Francesca Carington, Daily Telegraph
“Rich and strange… [Braised Pork] is a debut that gets under your skin rather than leaving you cold”
Anthony Cummins, Observer
“A seductive, sharply observed tale of love, loss and hope that moves from high-rise Beijing to rural Tibet and the mysterious, magical ‘world of water’”
Fanny Blake, Daily Mail
Shahidha Bari, Guardian
“[Yu’s] novel has a cool, poised elegance that only adds to its enigmatic allure”
“A dizzying read… An Yu writes with style and…in a way that is hard to resist”
Lucy Knight, Sunday Times
“Richly associative, the book’s imagery insinuates itself into the reader’s consciousness long after it’s finished”
Jude Cook, Spectator