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Books 書


Below are books by Geling Yan.  Most are in Chinese, but a number have been translated into other languages, and one (The Banquet Bug aka The Uninvited) was written directly in English.  Her works are available for sale online at Amazon, and other online bookstores.  


Novels in Reverse Chronological Order

Milati 米拉蒂, novel about a young woman’s life during the opening of China from 1979 and 1989 and the experiences of her and her father’s generation of artists, published by New Song Media GmbH (co-owned by the author herself), 17 June 2023,  ISBN 978-3-910769-01-4. Also available as an e-book in traditional Chinese characters on Kindle and in simplified Chinese characters on Apple iBooks and other e-book platforms.  Banned from any and all forms of publication in Mainland China.


Fata Morgana《蜃楼》 about the lives of the people who settled and developed Hainan Island, exclusively published in Hua Cheng (“Flowery City”) literary magazine, autumn-winter edition.  Banned from being published as a book in Mainland China.  《花城》2021年秋冬卷长篇专号。

The Secret Talker, translation of 蜜语着 into English by Jeremy Tiang, published by HarperCollins on their HarperVia imprint.  On sale after May 1, 2021.  ASIN:  B0839M1XS2.

Small Way-Station 小站, about a unit of Chinese railway construction soldiers who adopt a Tibetan black bear.  Published in 收获 (A Bi-Monthly Literary Harvest) literary magazine, issue 2020/3.  Published only in this literary journal and not as a book because by that time the author was banned in Mainland China. 


Prisoner 666, 666号,People's Literature Publishing House 人民文学出版社, July 1, 2020, ISBN:  9787020163816.  During the Chinese war of resistance against Japanese aggression, Prisoner 666, a common criminal in a Japanese-run prison in occupied China, is mistaken by other inmates for a major resistance leader against the Japanese.  He enjoys this notoriety and the deference and privileges the other inmates grant him, but one inmate who was a close advisor of the leader is not fooled by the resemblance. Published as a book but withdrawn from circulation after the author was banned in Mainland China starting in March 2020. 

Suizi’s Menagerie, 穗子的动物园 , People’s Literature Publishing House 人民文学出版社,  August 2019, ISBN: 9787020151363.  Mostly non-fiction accounts of the various animals in the author’s life and her experiences with them. 

Fang Hua 芳华, People’s Literature Publishing House 人民文学出版社, April 1, 2017, ISBN:  9787020123728.  The author's original title was title was 你触摸了我 You Touched Me.  The novel deals with a teenage performance troupe in the People’s Liberation Army during the Cultural Revolution, their lives and struggles and their experiences of war during the Sino-Vietnam border conflict.  It is the basis for Chinese director Feng Xiaogang’s 冯小刚 film 芳华,English title Youth.  

African Jottings 非洲手记, September 2016, People’s Publishing House 人民出版社2016年9月, ISBN 978-7-01-016503-5.  Short essays about the author’s experiences living in Abuja, Nigeria, from 2004 to 2006.  


Shanghai Dancing Man 上海舞男, Shanghai Literature and Arts Publishing House, 2016,上海文艺出版社。This novel follows the star-crossed love affair of a young male dance instructor from the slums of Shanghai and an older woman student of his who is the CEO of her own successful law firm.  The story is narrated by the ghost of a Shanghai poet and man-about-town who frequently draws on his life experience 1930s Shanghai and his long-term, passionate love affair with a dance-hall girl. 


Bedside Shore 床畔, Changjiang Literature and Arts Publishing House 长江文艺出版社, April 1, 2015,  ISBN:  9787535479419.  The author's preferred title was Nurse Wan Hong 护士万红.  This novel deals with a nurse caring for a patient, a hero of the Sino-Vietnam border war, who is in a persistent vegetative state.  Only Nurse Wan Hong knows he is alive and has feelings and perceptions.  The work examines the true meaning of heroism versus those whom contemporary society considers to be heroes.  


My Beautiful Teacher 老师好美,天津人民出版社 Tianjin People's Publishing House, July 1, 2014, ISBN: 9787201087245.  Won the Hundred Flowers Award for Best Novel (tied with another author) June 27, 2015.  获得白话文学奖为长篇小说《老师好美》。This novel delves into contemporary teenage life in China as it relates the love story between a female teacher and a male  high school student. 


A City Called Macau, 妈阁是座城,人民文学出版社, People's Literature Publishing House, January 2014, ISBN: 9787020101825.  One of "Ten Best (Chinese-language) Novels of 2014" (placed at number seven) by Yazhou Zhoukan (Asia Weekly), January 2015.  二零一四年亞洲週刊十大小說, 《媽閣是座城》嚴歌苓(美國),第七。"Mao Tai Cup" for Excellent Novel.  (The company that makes Mao Tai liquor is the corporate sponsor for this award.)  《茅台杯》优秀长篇小说,为《妈阁是座城》,人民文学出版社,2014年11月15日。 This novel follows the life in Macau of a female facilitator for wealthy Chinese gamblers for whom she and her organization introduce to elite games and stakes them for even higher wagers. 


Buyu’s Mountain Hostel, 补玉山居, Shaanxi Normal University Publishing House陕西师范大学出版社, August, 1, 2012.  A woman named Buyu runs a hotel in the mountains where many city people go to take a break their complex lives. 


The Flowers of War 金陵十三钗, Writers’ Publishing House 作家出版社,ISBN 9787506390521.  Published in English (Harvill Secker in UK and The Other Press in US), French (Flammarion), German (Knaus Verlag), Dutch (Arbeiderpers), Korean (Woongjin Think Big), Vietnamese (Phuong Dong Communication) and Spanish (Santillana/Alfaguara).  A pirated version was published in Farsi by Tandis Library Publishing of Iran.  Made into a film by famous Chinese director Zhang Yimou.  The film, starring A-List Hollywood actor Christian Bale and with a budget close to US$100 million, was a box office hit in China and was featured in Panorama at the Berlinale (Berlin Film Festival) in February 2012.  It was nominated for a Golden Globe and was China’s entry into the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film.  It has been released commercially in China, the U.S., the UK and several other countries. 


The Inmate Lu Yanshi 陆犯焉识, Authors’ Publishing House作家出版社, Beijing, Oct. 1, 2011.  Published in traditional Chinese characters in Taiwan by Eslite Publishing Co. 麦田出版社. Awarded Best Novel of 2011 by the Chinese Academy of Fiction Writing, December 25, 2011. (中国小说学会评选的“2011年度中国小说排行榜”.)  Awarded the Wison Shi Nai'an Literature Prize, in the overseas novelist category, October 2013. 施耐庵文学奖,海外作家。It was the basis for Zhang Yimou’s acclaimed film Coming Home 归来, and a plot element of it forms the basis of Zhang Yimou’s film One Second 一秒钟。It has been published in Japan by Kadokawa Shoten and in the Republic of Korea by 51Books.  It has been translated into English but not yet published in that language.

Iron Pear Blossoms 铁梨花 The author finished and expanded an original unpublished film script by her father Yan Dunxun (pen name Xiao Ma) into a novel, published by Shaanxi Normal University Press, March 2010.  Subsequently made into a TV series.  长篇小说《铁梨花》(源自严敦勋(笔名:萧马)电影剧本:铁梨花):陕西师范大学出版社...  出版时间:2010年03月.


The Banquet Bug (written directly in English), Hyperion Books, July 1, 2006.  Published in UK by Faber and Faber as The Uninvited.  Translations published in Czech (Kniha Zlin Euro), Hebrew (Yediot Aharonot), Thai (Sangdad) and Vietnamese (Phuongnam).  The novel was translated into Chinese, both traditional and simplified character editions, and published by San Min Books 三民书局and Shaanxi Normal University Publishing House 陕西师范大学出版社, both under the title 赴宴著  (The Banquet Goer).  Awarded Best Book for 2006 in the Adult Fiction Category by the Chinese-American Librarians’ Association 中美图书馆员协会, 2006年最佳大人小说.


The Sojourner 寄居者, published by Shaanxi Normal University Publishing House陕西师范大学出版社, previously published by New Star Publishing 新星出版社, 2009. Inspired by a real case documented at the Museum at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin, in which a West Berlin man found a West Berlin woman who looked like his East Berlin fiancée, lured her to East Berlin, then helped his fiancée escape East Berlin using the West Berlin woman’s documents.  In this novel, a Chinese-American woman finds a German-Jewish man in San Francisco who looks like her German-Jewish fiancé in Shanghai and lures him to occupied Shanghai to carry out the same sort of ruse – and in the process develops strong feelings for the man she is trying to dupe.  It has been translated into English by Jeremy Tiang but not yet published in English.  This work has been adapted for a film entitled Shanghai Sojourners and is awaiting release. 


Little Aunt Tatsuru 小姨多鹤, published by Authors’ Publishing House 作家出版社, April 1, 2008, ISBN 9787506352550.  Taiwan traditional Chinese character edition published by San Min Books 三民书局.  Published in 2015 in English by Harvill Secker (Random House UK) as Little Aunt Crane, translated by Esther Tyldesly.  Published in Russia by Arcadia Publishing of St. Petersburg as Маленький журавль из мертвой деревни (The Little Crane from the Dead Village), translated by Alina Andreevna Perlova.  This is the story of a Japanese girl left behind in Manchuria after World War II who is taken into a Chinese family to bear them children, and the unusual family relationship that develops. 

The Ninth Widow 第九个寡妇, Authors’ Publishing House作家出版社, March 1, 2006, ISBN: 9787506335461.  Taiwan traditional Chinese character edition published by Chiu Ko Publishing 九歌出版有限公司, Sept 6, 2006.  This is about a village woman whose father-in-law is shot along with the other village landlords during the land reform of the early 1950s, but he is wounded, not killed.  She removes him and, with many subterfuges, manages to hide him in her root cellar for the next thirty years as China experiences one social upheaval after another.  The novel was adapted into a popular 44-episode TV series in China starring acclaimed Chinese actress Ye Xuan 叶 璇.  Ediciones Santillana  published an excellent Spanish translation, La Novena Viuda, by Nuria Pitarque Ledesma, available in trade paperback and as an e-book on Kindle and other platforms.  Vietnam Culture & Information published it in Vietnamese, unfortunately misreading the author’s third name character.  An Italian translation was commissioned by Rizzoli and translated by Maria Gottardo and Monica Morzenti but has not been published to date.  A French translation is also available for publication.


A Woman’s Epic 一个女人的史诗, Hunan Literature and Arts Publishing House湖南文艺出版社, May 1, 2006.  This is a story about a naïve teenage girl who runs away from home to join the revolution and has a star-crossed, long-term love affair with a revolutionary intellectual.  Taiwan edition published by Chiu Ko Publishing 九歌出版有限公司, April 10, 2007.  This novel was adapted for television and became a popular TV series starring acclaimed Chinese actress Zhao Wei (Vicky Zhao). 


The Secret Talker 密语着 is about the young Chinese wife of an American professor whos marriage has grown stale as she starts to receive online messages from a mysterious admirer.  First published in traditional Chinese character edition in Taiwan by San Min Books三民书局, January 1, 2004.  Mainland editions followed.  Published in English by HarperCollins in 2021.


No Exit Café 无出路咖啡馆 is about a female Chinese student who has a love affair with an American diplomat and is investigated for possible espionage.  First published by Chiu Ko Publishing Ltd. 九歌出版有限公司, July 1, 2001 in traditional Chinese character edition. Mainland Chinese edition followed published by Tianjin Hundred Flowers Literary and Cultural Publishing House天津百花文艺出版社.


The Human Realm 人寰 is a monologue of a Chinese woman living in America who talks with her psychologist, whose voice is never heard in the book, about how her father was politically persecuted in China but protected by a senior colleague, who had her father ghostwrite literary works under his name, and the daughter’s plan to seduce and expose her father’s benefactor/exploiter.  Published in Taiwan in traditional Chinese characters by China Times Cultural Publishing House时报文化, Feb. 7, 1998.  Has also been published in Mainland China under the title Is the Psychologist In? 心理医生在吗?


The Lost Daughter of Happiness 扶桑 is the story of woman abducted from China and sold into prostitution in San Francisco in the late 19th Century, and her love triangle with a white boy, who becomes her first client at age 12, and a notorious Chinatown gangster.  First published in Taiwan traditional characters edition by Linking Publishing House (subsidiary of United Daily News) 台湾联经出版公司 on August 1, 1996.  Hong Kong edition was published by Cosmo Books香港天地出版公司 and Mainland China simplified Chinese character edition was published by Overseas Chinese Publishing House北京华侨出版社. Published in English translation by Hyperion Books (US) and Faber and Faber (UK) in 2001 and made the Los Angeles Times top ten best-seller list for a week in 2002.   Other language editions include French (high-quality paperback by Éditions Plon and mass market paperback by 10/18), Dutch (De bezige bij), Portuguese (ASA), Romanian (Minerva) and Vietnamese (Security Publishing).  Hungarian rights were purchased by Ulpius, but the book has not yet been published in Hungarian.


Straw-Sandaled Nobility 草鞋权贵 deals with the family of a former high-ranking military leader that has fallen into decadence, as seen through the eyes of the peasant girl who is hired as their servant.  Originally published in Taiwan traditional character edition by San Min Books三民书局, March 1,1995.  Mainland China editions followed. Re-released as Shuangjiang 霜降 (lit. “Frost Falls,” the name of the main character)in Mainland China in 2011 by Shaanxi Normal University Publishing House 陕西师范大学出版社.


Female Grasslands 雌性的草地, one of the author’s favorite works, is a magical-realistic and abstract novel centering around a group of girls brought into the People’s Liberation Army to herd horses on the Tibetan grasslands.  Published by the People’s Liberation Army Literature and Arts Publishing House, 1989.  Republished in Taiwan and later re-released in Mainland China under the title The Horse Roars 马在吼.  


Whispers of a Woman Soldier 一个女兵的悄悄话 about the lives of women in an army unit amid the social and political changes that occur in their lives.  Published by People’s Liberation Army Literature and Arts Publishing House解放军文艺出版社, 1987. Awarded Best Military Novel by People's Liberation Army Daily, 1988.  获1988年"解放军报最佳军版图书奖"。


Green Blood 绿血 is about the lives of a group of young people in an army performance troupe.  Published by People’s Liberation Army Literature and Arts Publishing House解放军文艺出版社, 1985.  Awarded Ten-Year Prize for the Soldier's Favorite Novel, People's Liberation Army Publishing House.  Awarded Best Novel by the People's Liberation Army Publishing House, 1987. 获1987年"全国优秀军事长篇小说奖"。


Novellas, Short Stories, Essays and Other Works


(Note:  this part is incomplete because many stories have been re-anthologized into many different collections. In most cases, the first publication was in Taiwan, and mainly Taiwan-published collections are listed here.)


Pacific Tango 太平洋探戈,San Min Books 三民书局, June 1, 2006.  Contains the title novella plus “Thirteen Noble Ladies of Nanking” 金陵十三钗, later expanded to a novel and made into a film and TV series.  


Wu Chuan is a Yellow Girl 吴川是一个黄女孩, a novella about the younger and an older female cousin and their challenges with life in America.  Published by Chengdu Shidai Publishing House成都时代出版社, June 1, 2006.


Tales of Suizi 穗子物语, a collection of stories and novellas.  First published in Taiwan traditional Chinese characters edition by San Min Books 三民书局 on January 1, 2005.  Simplified character editions in Mainland China followed.  Published in Vietnamese by Bach Viet Books.  It consists of autobiographical stories centering around the author’s childhood and youth, particularly as a teenage soldier in a dance troupe of the People’s Liberation Army.


Flower and the Youth 花儿与少年, novella published in simplified character edition in China by Kunlun Books 昆仑出版社, January 1, 2004. 


White Snake 白蛇 is a novella about a dancer who previously became famous performing in a ballet about the legendary character White Snake but is imprisoned in a scenery warehouse during the Cultural Revolution.  Then a mysterious young man starts to visit and take an interest in her case.  Published in Taiwan by Chiu Ko Publishing, Ltd. 九歌出版有限公司, June 1, 1999.  


White Snake and Other Stories, a collection of a novella and short stories, published by Aunt Lute Books (San Francisco), May 15, 1999, translated by Lawrence A. Walker.  The entire book was published in Japanese translation by Kadokawa Shoten, and one story, “Siao Yu” 少女小渔, was translated into Thai by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and included in an anthology of the Princess’s translations published by Nanmeebooks Publication.  Three of the stories in the collection were made into films.  The novella was published in French as Le serpent blanc, translated by Brigitte Duzan, by L'Asiathèque on April 27, 2022.


Whoever Has a Daughter Come of Age 谁家有女初养成, San Min Books 三民书局, February 1, 2001. Contains the title novella about an abducted young woman who commits a double murder. Additionally contains the novella Also Adam, Also Eve 也是亚当,也是夏娃 about a homosexual couple who have a child with the help of a lesbian surrogate mother. Both novellas subsequently republished in multiple Mainland China editions and collections.


Bohemian Building 波西米亚楼,San Min Books三民书局,April 1, 1999.  A collection of essays and vignettes about the author’s experiences as a student in Chicago.  Republished in various Mainland China editions. 


Kite Song 风筝歌,San Min Books 三民书局February 1, 1999.  Short story collection.

Daotang River 倒淌河,San Min Books三民书局, January 1, 1996.  Short story collection.


Across the Sea 海那边,Chiu Ko Publishing, Ltd. 九歌出版社有限公司.  Short story collection.


An Peter Kuckei, Chinese-language reflection about her friend, German abstract-expressionist painter Peter Kuckei, and his work, translated into English and German by Lawrence A. Walker and illustrated with images by Peter Kuckei.  Published in in 1995 in a 250-piece signed limited silkscreen edition by Nau Verlag, Berlin.


Joan Chen: The Early Biography 陈冲前传,San Min Books 三民书局, August 1, 1994.  Authorized biography written at the request of the author’s friend, actress and director Joan Chen, who wanted to counteract some of the unauthorized biographies that had already appeared.


A Young Woman Named Siao Yu 少女小渔,San Min Books 三民书局, July 20, 1993.   Short story collection.  The title story, about a young Chinese couple who arranges the woman’s marriage to an old Italian man in order to gain immigration status, became the basis of a film produced by Ang Lee and directed by Sylvia Chang. 

In February 2022 Yan Geling fan group on WeChat published a comprehensive list of her published works, with book covers, publication data and synopses (in Chinese).

Books Sold on


Here are links to Geling Yan's pages on and

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