Harvest (a Chinese literary bimonthly) October 2017
80 pages (26,000 words in full English translation)
Rights handled by New River:
by Zhang Yueran
A young woman from the countryside, Yu Ling is a live-in nanny for a rich Beijing family. On a sunny morning, she takes Dada, the son of the family, for a picnic. As Yu Ling's boyfriend drives them towards a lake, the plan behind the picnic unfolds: Yu Ling and her boyfriend are kidnapping Dada, hoping for a big ransom from Dada's family. Yet, when they call Dada's parents to announce the kidnap, nobody picks up the phone. From the radio, they learn that the parents have been taken by the police with the charge of corruption. The kidnap plan falling flat, what will Yu Ling do?
Starting from something similar to The Perfect Nanny, yet slowly moving towards the direction of Roma and Shoplifters, Swan Hotel takes the reader on a life-changing journey with Yu Ling and Dada. The story contemplates motherhood and family, and offers a glimpse into what makes 'the Chinese Dream' for people from China's different social classes and how easily their dreams fall apart.
About the author
Born in 1982, Zhang Yueran is one of China's most influential young writers. Her novel Cocoon has been translated into French and won the Best Asian Novel of the Prix Transfuge 2019. She has been the chief editor of Newriting since 2008 and teaches literature and creative writing at Renmin University.