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About the book
  • Published: 1 August 2006
  • ISBN: 9780099470182
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $32.99

Mr Muo's Travelling Couch

Formats & editions

Wonderful second novel from the author of the best-selling BALZAC & THE LITTLE CHINESE SEAMSTRESS.

Dai Sijie's bestselling and much loved first novel, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, was a delightful fable. His second is a Chinese Don Quixote following the peripatetic misadventures of Mr Muo, China's first psychoanalyst.
It's over ten years since Muo has visited his native China. He's been in Paris, exploring his subconscious and devouring the works of Freud and Lacan. But he knew the idyll couldn't last. When Muo hears that his his first great love has been thrown into a Chinese jail for selling a newspaper article to the foreign press, he feels he must rush home and rescue her. He returns to a China where everyone is corruptible, provided you find the right bribe. Sadly, the $10,000 Muo offers Judge Di to free his beloved aren't enough. The judge, tired of cash and cars, orders Muo to bring him a virgin girl to satisfy his sexual predilection for the unsullied. Thus begins a series of hilarious adventures as Muo goes in search of a virgin, setting himself up as an itinerant interpreter of dreams and losing his own virginity in the process.
Witty, surreal, moving, wonderfully picaresque, it is packed full of stories, anecdote, incident and mishap, all resulting in a highly enjoyable satire of one innocent man's attempt to negotiate the mind-boggling maze of modern China.

  • Pub date: 1 August 2006
  • ISBN: 9780099470182
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $32.99

About the Author

Dai Sijie

Born in China in 1954, Dai Sijie is a filmmaker who was himself 're-educated' between 1971 and 1974, and left China in 1984 for France, where he has lived and worked ever since. His first novel, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, was an overnight sensation when it appeared in France in 2000. It became an immediate bestseller and won five prizes. It is now published in over thirty-five countries. His film of the book was chosen to open the Cannes Film Festival in 2002. His second novel, Mr Muo's Travelling Couch, became a bestseller in its first French edition.

Also by Dai Sijie

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Praise for Mr Muo's Travelling Couch

“A literary road movie...veers from hilarious to horrific”

Daily Mail

“Allusive, intelligent, and very funny; comedy in the service of entertainment”


“Memorable and often startlingly beautiful”

Scotland on Sunday

“Some of the best passages are, like this, sensuous and plainly descriptive. There is a fantastic mini-essay on the aphrodisiac qualities of the sea cucumber”

Toby Litt, Guardian

“Unusually for a comic novel, it grips like a thriller and has some page-turningly tense moments... a significant book, as well as an eccentric one”

Daily Telegraph

“Well-crafted, often hilarious and surreal”

Big Issue

“a reading experience that evokes contemporary China with absurdist exactitude”

Financial Times

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