In September 2014, Amazon China issued its bestseller lists for August 2014. A little less than half of the Fiction Top 10 was held by Chinese authors, leaving six slots for overseas authors. Regardless where they were written, most of the books on this month’s lists list are classics, with only a meager showing from newer works.
The top three are once again firmly in the hands of non-Chinese authors: In the top spot we have “The Miracles of the Namiya General Store”, the newest novel by Japanese mystery writer Keigo Higashino. “The Kite Runner” by American, Afghan-born, author Khaled Hosseini follows at number 2 and the the classic, “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame” by French author Victor-Marie Hugo sits at number 3.
The books of the “Bedtime Stories” series by Chinese author Zhang Jiajia are notable for their long run of impressive sales throughout the end of 2013 and now into the second half of 2014; a feat that few other novels are matching at the moment. This month, one of Zhang Jiajia’s stories, “I Belong To You”, continues the trend, taking the number 4 position on Amazon’s best seller list. Its success is hardly surprising at this point, the novel has managed to remain one of China’s top ten best selling books almost every month since its release in November 2013. The number 5 position is held by another perennial inhabitant of the top 10, “One Hundred Year’s of Solitude”. This enduring work magical realism was written by the Literature Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Márquez.
The number 6 spot goes to “A Bend in the River” by British author V. S. Naipaul Picador, another Nobel laureate. First published in Chinese in 1999, “A Bend in the River” is told from the perspective of a shopkeeper living in an unnamed Congolese town. Through his narrative, we see a community in rapid change and gain insight not just into individual lives, but also the broader turmoil of the 60’s and 70’s in the Congo.
The sixth and seventh books on the list are both the work of Chinese authors – Shen Congwen’s “Border Town” and Liang Xiaosheng’s “True History in the Folk”. “Border Town” is a widely read and discussed Chinese classic. Set in a small, rural Chinese town during the 30’s, the book tells the story of Cuicui, a girl living with her ferryman grandfather. Cuicui’s untainted love and an exploration of the kinder, gentler sides of human nature, give this novel a unique place in the history of modern Chinese literature. “True History in Folk” is a discussion of current affairs in novel form. Merging the emotional echoes of the past with a cerebral examination of reality, this story reveals the inner life of China and offers a glimpse of where its people are headed in the coming decade.
A new collection of “101 Classic Short Stories” has jumped to the number 9 spot of the bestseller list. The collection includes stories by such luminaries as O. Henry and Jack London. The final spot on the list is reserved for “Mercy – Let Me Always Be With You”, the latest work of Zhang Jiajia. This collection of 44 stories is told from the perspective of the the author’s Golden Retriever, Mei Qian. Reading these these tales of separation, fulfillment and loss will have you laughing with tears as you feel the literary Mei Qian nuzzle up to your side.