Dr. Bethune's Children

Dr. Bethune's Children, a novel banned in China and set to expand minds in Canada, is Xue Yiwei's second book to be translated in English.

Xue Yiwei, translated by Darryl Sterk

Xue Yiwei's life has been marked by Dr. Norman Bethune, who left Montreal and died treating the wounded in wartime China. Like millions of other Chinese growing up in the 1960s, when Mao Zedong's eulogy to Bethune was required reading in every elementary school, Xue Yiwei was inspired by the doctor's self-sacrifice and his dedication to the Chinese regime. Unlike all his peers, however, Xue Yiwei went to the lengths of moving to Montreal, where he has lived for 16 years as an expatriate writer acclaimed in China and until now, unknown in Canada.

This subversive novel is the story that only he could write. Dr. Bethune's Children, which is banned in China (it is available only in a Chinese language version published in Taiwan), focuses on individual lives marked by some of the traumatic events of recent decades that have been veiled by official secrecy. In showing us the effects of the distress and repression that have marked his whole generation, Xue Yiwei unveils the human heart. (From Linda Leith Publishing)

Read an excerpt | Author interviews 

From the book

Dear Dr. Bethune, I can't keep on writing, for I can no longer see the words on the screen. Those words are now swimming around like a school of hungry goldfish. I remember the night when we got married, and my wife woke up terrified from a nightmare about her father's goldfish bowl. She told me that her father was famous for rearing goldfish in her hometown of Tangshan. However, two days before the earthquake, all his fish suddenly died. He called this unfathomable occurrence a "fiasco."

"He never knew the actual cause of the fiasco," my wife said sadly, pressing her naked body against mine.

From Dr. Bethune's Children by Xue Yiwei ©2017. Published by Linda Leith Publishing.

Author interviews