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  • Published: 1 September 2010
  • ISBN: 9781407013022
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 208

20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth




A brave young woman negotiates Beijing life in search of love and friendship in the daring new novel by Xiaolu Guo, Orange Prize shortlisted author and 'one of China's most successful literary exports' (Guardian)

Life as a film extra in Beijing might seem hard, but Fenfang won't be defeated. She has travelled 1800 miles to seek her fortune in the city, and has no desire to return to the never-ending sweet potato fields back home. Determined to live a modern life, Fenfang works as a cleaner in the Young Pioneer's movie theatre, falls in love with unsuitable men and keeps her kitchen cupboard stocked with UFO instant noodles. As Fenfang might say, Heavenly Bastard in the Sky, isn't it about time I got my lucky break?

Longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize.

  • Published: 1 September 2010
  • ISBN: 9781407013022
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 208

About the author

Xiaolu Guo

Xiaolu Guo was born in south China. She studied at the Beijing Film Academy and published six books in China before moving to London in 2002. Her books include Village of Stone which was shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize, 20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth which was longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize, and I Am China which was longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction. Her recent memoir, Once Upon a Time in the East, won the National Book Critics Circle Award, was shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award, the Jhalak Prize and the Rathbones Folio Award 2018, and was a Sunday Times Book of the Year.

In 2013 Xiaolu was named as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists. She has directed several award-winning films including She, A Chinese, and documentaries about China and Britain. She was a judge for the Booker Prize in 2019, and is currently a visiting professor at Columbia University in New York.

Also by Xiaolu Guo

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Praise for 20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth

Enjoyable, lively and well-presented

Financial Times

A feisty and funny rite-of-passage novel...I loved the protagonist, Fenfang, whose strength of personality allows her to blossom amid the crushing anonymity of Beijing

New Statesman

Funny and melancholy, scintillatingly observed, and has a very big heart

The Times

Xiaolu Guo is an instinctive, humane witness, her atmospheric, unusually physical narratives are alive and attractively insistent, inspired variations on the theme of quest ... Guo's observations will make you smile and remember; she will also nudge the reader towards thoughts about language, culture and the very business of living

Irish Times

Guo's prose, combining magic and the matter-of-fact, is a joy to read.

Sue Baker, Publishing News

A poignant and playful coming-of-age story and a love-letter to a Beijing rarely seen by Western readers

Bookseller

Its impudent, hand-on-hip attitude cannot fail to charm

New Statesman

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