Chinese novel in The Economist's yearly best books

Updated: 2014-12-26 16:57


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Chinese novel in The Economist's yearly best books

File photo of Chinese writer Mai Jia. [Photo/CFP]

The English magazine The Economist announced the best books of the year with Chinese writer Mai Jia's novel, Decoded, on the list.

The best books recommended by the magazine were divided into six categories, including politics, biography, history, economics, culture and fiction. Mai Jia's Decoded was listed in the fiction category.

The evaluation of the novel by the magazine is as follows: At last, a fine Chinese novel that holds its own as a work that book-lovers with no special knowledge of China will relish. By a former member of the intelligence services, Decoded stands out for its pace and for the sheer novelty of the tale it tells.

The other best books were about the South China Sea, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Kaiser Wilhelm II, the publishing of Ulysses and capitalism in the 21st century.

The English version of the espionage novel Decoded was published and released in 21 countries by Penguin Classics in this March. It is the first contemporary work of Chinese fiction to be published by the company.

Its main character, Rong Jinzhen, an autistic math genius from a prominent family, is hired by the military's top secret Unit 701 to break two highly advanced codes. During the secret and stressful work, he experiences loneliness, loss and finally, madness.

The novel also explores metaphysical concepts such as dream interpretation and the fine line between genius and insanity.

After Mo Yan, the Nobel Laureate of Literature in 2012, Mai is now considered one of the handful of Chinese authors with "overseas success" .

Besides Decoded, his representative works include Letting the Mashed Man Speak, Plot and Sound of the Wind.