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Original title:


Original language

Simplified Chinese 


Publication info:

People's Literature Publishing House

July 2016

424 pages 



Upmarket literary thriller


Rights handled by New River:

Foreign rights excl. Taiwan, Korea

Rights sold:

France (Zulma)

Korea (Mirae N)

the Netherlands (Prometheus)

Russia (Phantom Press)

Sri Lanka (The Asian Group of Literature)

Taiwan (INK)

WEL (World Editions)


Swan Hotel

(France, Zulma) 


  by Zhang Yueran

A long heart-felt conversation between two 
friends, who grew up together on the 
campus of a medical school in a provincial 
capital in the 1980s. An intimate moment, leading to the long-due expression of untold 
feelings, but also patching together their 
family stories, tragically intertwined and 
deeply troubled by an unsolved crime during the Culture Revolution. On that rainy night in 1967, what
 happened in the deserted water tower on
 the campus? How did a nail lead to the completely different destinies of the two families?


As the conversation continues, will the long-buried story of the grandparents of the two narrators, one a highly respected academician, the other a vegetable lying on the hospital bed for decades, finally be unravelled? An upmarket literary thriller, Cocoon delves into the complexity of a crime set in one of the most chaotic years of contemporary China. We hold our breath as the protagonists embark on a tortuous journey towards catharsis, revealing a longing for reconciliation still at odds with China’s troubled relationship with its own past.​

About the author


Born in 1982, Zhang Yueran is one of China's most influential young writers. She has published two short story collections: Sunflower Missing In 1890 (2003) and Ten Loves (2004), and four novels: Distant Cherry (2004), Narcissus (2005), The Promise Bird (2006), and Cocoon (2016).


Her short story collection Ten Loves was long-listed for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award in 2014. She has been the chief editor of Newriting since 2008 and teaches literature and creative writing at Renmin University.

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