The Years, Months, Days: Two Novellas

Yan Lianke (author) and Carlos Rojas (translator)
Grove Press
2017

Yan Lianke is a master of imaginative satire, and his prize-winning works have been published around the world to the highest honors. Now, his two most acclaimed novellas are collected here in a single volume translated by Rojas, masterfully crafted stories that explore the sacrifices made for family, the driving will to survive, and the longing to leave behind a personal legacy.

Marrow is the haunting tale of a widow who goes to extremes to provide a normal life for her four disabled children. When she discovers that bones―especially those of kin―can cure their illnesses and prevent future generations from the same fate, she feeds them a medicinal soup made from the skeleton of her dead husband. But after running out of soup, she resorts to a measure that only a mother can take.

In the luminous, moving title story, The Years, Months, Days―a bestselling, classic fable in China, and winner of the prestigious Lu Xun Literary Prize―an elderly man stays behind in his small village after a terrible drought forces everyone to leave. Unable to make the grueling march through the mountains, he becomes the lone inhabitant, along with a blind dog. As he fends off the natural world from overtaking his hometown, every day is a victory over death.

With touches of the fantastical and with deep humanity, these two magnificent novellas reflect the universality of mankind’s will to live, live well, and live with purpose.

The Years, Months, Days: Two Novellas