Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Decoded

Decoded

A Novel

Mai Jia; Translated from the Chinese by Olivia Milburn and Christopher Payne

Picador

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Chinese American Librarians Association Best Book Award, The Economist Magazine Books of the Year

EXCERPT

1.


The man who left Tongzhen on the little black ferry in 1873 with a view to studying abroad was the youngest member of the seventh generation of that famous family of salt merchants: the Rongs of Jiangnan. When he left, he was called...

Reviews

Praise for Decoded

“A gripping plot [and] otherworldly aura . . . Spectacular.” —The New York Times Book Review (Editors' Choice)

“Mai plays adroitly with literary genre and crafts a story of Borgesian subtlety and complexity.” —The New Yorker

“Entirely original . . . A mix of spy thriller, historical saga, and mathematical puzzle that somehow coheres into a powerful whole.” —Financial Times (London)

“There is a determination to unsettle the reader; an uneasiness about settling on one focused point of view . . . [Decoded's] deviations take the novel out of the realms of the hard-edged thriller into somewhere more surreal and unexpected.” —Tash Aw, The Telegraph (London)

Decoded stands out among Chinese novels for its pace, liveliness, and the sheer novelty of the tale it tells. It grips from the first page . . . It is an absolute joy to read.” —The Economist

Decoded is a subtle and complex exploration of cryptography, politics, dreams and their significance . . . There is much of interest in this book, from the strange, superstitious beginning to the gradual decline of the Rong family as the twentieth century progresses . . . But, in the end, it is the complexity of the characters that is Decoded's enduring pleasure.” —The Times Literary Supplement

“Between the thrills of pulp fiction and those novels which come to be considered classics, there are boundaries and lines which, for many writers, are difficult to cross, and may take a lifetime (if ever) to realize. Mai Jia's achievement is that he has overcome that barrier with steady and assured strides. The footprints he has left behind form an ingenious, secretive literary treasure map.” —Wong Kar-wai, director of The Grandmaster

“When I say that [Decoded] is excellent, I am referring both to its remarkable literary qualities and to the fact that it demands to be read in a single sitting.” —Alai, Mao Dun Literature Prize–winning author of Red Poppies

“The illogical nature of destiny, the brilliance and fragility of genius, and circumstances that bind people together irrevocably as they drift through the darkness of the night all form part of Mai Jia's strange and mysterious novel.” —Beijing Evening News

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Mai Jia; Translated from the Chinese by Olivia Milburn and Christopher Payne

Mai Jia, who spent many years in the Chinese intelligence services, is one of China’s bestselling and most famous writers. He is the author of four novels, three of which have been turned into television series and films. Mai has won almost every major book prize in China, including its highest literary honor, the Mao Dun Literature Prize. Decoded is his first novel to be published in English.

Mai Jia

Mai Jia

Olivia Milburn

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