All three of the novels in Fan Wen’s trilogy set on the Yunnan-Tibetan border in the 19-20th centuries are now available — in one form or another:
- 水乳大地 (Shuǐ rǔ dàdì) has been rendered in full in French, as Terre de lait et de miel
- 大地雅歌 (Dàdì yǎ gē) in an excerpt entitled The Creation Story
- 悲悯大地 (Bēimǐn dàdì) in full in English, as Land of Mercy: A Tale of the Three Jewels of Tibet
My favorite so far was the first novel in the trilogy, Shuǐ rǔ dàdì (at right), which I described thusly in my interview with the author (A Century of Cultural Collisions in Shangri-la):
[Shuǐ rǔ dàdì] . . . tells the tale of a multi-ethnic settlement in Lancangjiang Canyon — Gateway to Tibet — beset by battles between arrogant French Catholic missionaries, incompetent Han officials and their marauding troops, Naxi Dongba Shamanists, and the dominant Tibetans, not all of whom lead pacific, vegetarian lives in the local lamasery.
But the newest of the novels to be published (translated by Shelly Bryant), is Land of Mercy. Marcia Johnson in Shanghai has written to mention that she bought the Kindle version, is enjoying it, and notes that several of the chapters include “Field Notes” by the author about how he — a devout Catholic convert raised in Sichuan — came to “learn about some of the seemingly magical elements he weaves into his tale.”
See here for an interview in French with the translator of Terre de lait et de miel.
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