The Moon Opera

The Moon Opera

Translated by Howard Goldblatt and Sylvia Liu-chun Lin

9781846590221 November 2007 Paperback 128pp

About the Book

In a fit of jealousy, Xiao Yanqiu, star of The Moon Opera, disfigures her understudy with boiling water. Spurned by the troupe, she turns to teaching.

Twenty years later The Moon Opera is restaged, under the patronage of a rich local factory boss who insists that Xiao Yanqiu return to the role of Chang’e. So she does, this time believing she is the immortal moon goddess.

Set against the dramatic backdrop of the Peking Opera, this devastating portrait shows the extent to which a desperate woman will embrace an exalted image of herself in an effort to flee earthly concerns.


About the Author

Bi Feiyu is one of the most respected authors and screenwriters in China today. He was born in 1964 in Xinghua, in the province of Jiangsu, China. He is the recipient of several literary awards, including the Lu Xun Prize. He co-wrote the film Shanghai Triad, which was directed by acclaimed Chinese director Zhang Yimou and nomitated for a Golden Globe. In 2010, his novel,Three Sisters, won the Man Asian Literary Prize. He lives in Nanjing, China.

About the Translator

Howard Goldblatt is the foremost translator of modern and contemporary Chinese literature in the West. He has published English translations of more than thirty novels and story collections by writers from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, and he has also authored and edited half a dozen books on Chinese literature.

Sylvia Li-chun Lin teaches modern and contemporary Chinese literature, culture, and cinema at the University of Notre Dame. She translates short stories, poetry, and novels by contemporary writers from Taiwan and China. Her co-translation, with Howard Goldblatt, of Chu T'ien–wen's Notes of a Desolate Man was awarded 1999 Translation of the Year Prize by the American Literary Translators Association.


'The reader finds himself easily drawn into the very coded universe of Chinese opera, and experiences a medley of feelings, from curiosity for this little-known art for us westerners, to a growing feeling of scorn, compassion and pity for the heroine. A real moment of pleasure.'
Asia News

'Bi Feiyu demonstrates that in China, today, one can be free, even within the system.'

'... elegantly theatrical and emotionally resonant – just like a good opera.'
Kirkus Reviews