Liu Yuejin is a work-site cook and small-time thief whose bag is stolen. In his search for it, he stumbles upon another bag, this one containing a flash disk that chronicles high-level corruption by some of China’s elite businessmen. This discovery sets off an intense, convoluted chase through the streets and back alleys of Beijing that ensnares an ever-widening cast of businessman, crooked officials, and criminals obsessed with finding the disk—all while Liu searches with growing desperation for his money.
There are no heroes in this scathing, complex, and highly readable novel about the dark side of China’s predatory capitalism, corruption, and plight of the underclasses. The Cook, the Crook, and the Real Estate Tycoon reveals a microcosm of contemporary China, dealing with issues of class at two extremes: the super wealthy and the migrant workers who, along with a culture of deceit and official corruption, make them rich.
“The power of this novel is derived, partly, from the sharp glance the author casts at modern Chinese society , plagued by corruption, poverty, and injustice. The dark tale is lightened by the author’s delicious humor. Liu Zhenyun is an outstanding storyteller.”
— Lijia Zhang, author of Socialism Is Great!
“Liu”s fiction is a romp through modern Beijing that pits migrant workers from the provinces against billionaires and officials , making a wry statement about modern China and a thoroughly entertaining book.”
— Kirkus Review
“An intricate , dark-hearted crime tale ...The web of deceptions, double crosses,and betrayals Zhenyun builds into his ambitious,complex novel result in a rich depiction of the criminal underworld.”
— Publishers Weekly
“Those who enjoy Chinese literature will appreciate how the novel openly provides commentary on the disparity between the economic social classes and unscrupulous corruption found in almost any society.”
— Library Journal
“The hunt for Lost property: money, divorce certificates, a bit of honour, even love, in a world where "a life is paid for with life and debts returned". The novel illustrates the fault lines of today's China in bitterly picaresque tones. Like everywhere, "depths have a bottom, but the hearts of men cannot be fathomed". Lost individuals.”
— Corriere della Sera
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