An acclaimed Chinese writer makes his English-language debut with this heart-stopping literary noir, a richly atmospheric tale of espionage and international intrigue, set in Shanghai in 1931-an electrifying, decadent world of love, violence and betrayal filled with femme fatales, criminals, revolutionaries and spies. A boat arrives in Shanghai harbour, carrying an important official in the Nationalist Party and his striking wife, Leng. Amid the raucous sound of firecrackers, gunshots ring out; an assassin has shot the official and then himself. Leng disappears in the chaos. Hsueh, a Franco-Chinese photographer aboard the same boat, became captivated by Leng's beauty and unconcealed misery. Now, she is missing. But Hsueh is plagued by a mystery closer to home: he suspects his White Russian lover, Therese, is unfaithful. Why else would she disappear so often on their recent vacation? When he's arrested for mysterious reasons in the French Concession and forced to become a police collaborator, he realizes that in the seamy, devious world of Shanghai, no one is who they appear to be.
'Rich with historical detail, Xiao Bai's French Concession is a sensual, intellectual thriller - which like human memory, is pulled from the chaos of truth and lies, desire and regret.' Simon Van Booy 'An absorbing novel of character and mood ... Readers of Alan Furst's noir novels of Europe on the edge of World War II will find much to enjoy in this superior novel.' Library Journal
Xiao Bai was born in 1968 in Shanghai, and began writing in 2009. His first book, a collection of essays entitled HORNY HAMLET (2009), was a prize winner in China. His debut novel, GAME POINT, followed in 2010, and FRENCH CONCESSION, his second novel, appeared in 2011 in China. It is being widely translated, and is his first book to appear in the English language. In 2013, his novella, XU XIANGBI THE SPY won the 10th Annual Shanghai Literary Prize. Xiao Bai lives in Shanghai. Translator Chenxin Jiang was born in Singapore and grew up in Hong Kong. Her work has received a PEN Translation Fund Grant and the Susan Sontag Prize for Translation. She is currently translating a Cultural Revolution memoir by Ji Xianlin for New York Review Books. She has most recently lived in Shanghai, Chicago, and Berlin.