A Confederacy of Dunces-esque family story written by one of China's most beloved women writers. Ma Bole follows the eponymous cowardly layabout as he escapes his unhappy family life by going on the run to avoid the coming Japanese invasion. A humorous-yet-stark depiction of despair in the face of war and Westernisation, Xiao's novel (completed by the translator) mirrors the identity struggles of early-twentieth century China in the form of an unforgettable comic anti-hero.
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