STORIES OF THE SAHARA, translated from the Chinese by Mike Fu, with an introduction by Sharlene Teo

: Sanmao

R 280.00
- +

395pp., paperback, English Language Edition Reprint, London, (2019) 2020


A collection of 20 essays first published in Chinese in Taiwan in 1976.

Novelist, writer and translator Sanmao (Chen Mao Ping) was born in China in 1943 and grew up in Taiwan. In the 1970s, after studying in Spain and Germany, she moved to the Sahara desert with her Spanish husband, a scuba diver and underwater engineer. After he died in 1979, she returned to Taiwan. From 1976 until her death in 1991, she published more than twenty books.

"A hypnotic meditation on love and loneliness in a foreign place. Writing with frankness and vulnerability, Sanmao’s constant questioning of her insecurities and flaws is remarkably human, and nothing remains beyond the boundaries of her probing eye ... Mike Fu’s gorgeous translation brings to life Sanmao’s evocative descriptions of the Sahrawi communities in which she lives, along with her wit and her gift for capturing life’s absurdities. Stories of the Sahara is a record of one person’s fierce refusal to follow a path laid down for her by the rest of the world, but it is also a celebration of the complexities of being an outsider, and ultimately, an ode to freedom." Tash Aw, Paris Review Books of the Year

"Stories of the Sahara has endured for generations of young Taiwanese and Chinese women yearning for independence from conservative social norms ... Her prose, which oscillates between memoir and fiction, has a laconic elegance that echoes the Beat poets. It can also be breezy, a remarkable quality at a time when her homeland, Taiwan, was under martial law." The New York Times

Translator and editor Mike Fu is co-founder and editor of The Shanghai Literary Review and Assistant Dean for Global Initiatives at Parsons School of Design. He lives in Brooklyn.