Top Best Chinese Novels in English

1. The Three-Body Problem, 2. Threads of Silk, 3. A Hero Born, 4. To Live, 5. Young Babylon, 6. Monkey King: Journey to the West, 7. Wolf Totem, 8. Red Sorghum, 9. The Vagrants, 10. Soul Mountain, 11. The Four Books, 12. China Dream, 13. The Wedding Party. Chinese literature has a rich and storied history that spans several centuries, with diverse genres and styles that captivate readers around the world. From ancient classics to contemporary works, Toplist has listed some Chinese novels in English that you can refer to.

  1. The Three-Body Problem
  2. Threads of Silk
  3. A Hero Born
  4. To Live
  5. Young Babylon
  6. Monkey King: Journey to the West
  7. Wolf Totem
  8. Red Sorghum
  9. The Vagrants
  10. Soul Mountain
  11. The Four Books
  12. China Dream
  13. The Wedding Party

The Three-Body Problem

“The Three-Body Problem” is a groundbreaking science fiction novel that will transport readers to an astonishingly imaginative world. This captivating story is the first installment in Liu’s Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy, and it effortlessly blends scientific theories, social commentary, and thrilling storytelling.

Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, the narrative follows a group of scientists who uncover a perplexing phenomenon. As they navigate political intrigue and skepticism, they are faced with the daunting task of deciphering an extraterrestrial message. Liu’s intricate plot intricately weaves together scientific concepts, including physics, astrophysics, and game theory, to create a story that is intellectually stimulating.

“The Three-Body Problem” masterfully captures the essence of humanity’s search for understanding in an unfathomable universe. With its richly drawn characters, intricate plot twists, and thought-provoking themes, this novel has garnered immense praise and won the prestigious Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2015

  • Author: Cixin Liu
  • Released: January 12, 2016
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top best chinese novels in english

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top best chinese novels in english

Threads of Silk

“Threads of Silk” is a remarkable novel that delves deep into a story of love, friendship, and resilience set against the backdrop of ancient China. The novel follows the life of Yaqian, a young girl whose world is shattered when her father is unjustly accused and executed. Determined to reclaim her family’s honor, Yaqian joins the Forbidden City as a seamstress, navigating the treacherous world of court politics and societal expectations.

“Threads of Silk” takes readers on an emotional journey as Yaqian fights for justice finds unexpected love, and discovers her own strength amidst adversity. As Yaqian establishes herself in the Forbidden City, she forms deep connections with fellow seamstresses and captures the attention of Prince Qiang. Their complicated relationship adds a layer of intrigue and intensifies the challenges Yaqian faces.

“Threads of Silk” beautifully captures the rich history, intricate traditions, and societal constraints of imperial China during the Ming Dynasty. Through Yaqian’s story, the novel explores themes of resilience, identity, and the enduring power of love. “Threads of Silk” is a captivating novel that seamlessly combines history, romance, and the human spirit.

  • Author: Amanda Roberts
  • Released: September 13, 2016
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top best chinese novels in english
top best chinese novels in english

A Hero Born

“A Hero Born” is the first volume in Jin Yong’s acclaimed Legends of the Condor Heroes series. Set in ancient China during the Song dynasty, this novel seamlessly weaves together elements of history, fantasy, and martial arts. The story follows Guo Jing, a young hero with humble beginnings, as he embarks on a journey of self-discovery and becomes entangled in a world of political intrigue, love, betrayal, and ancient martial arts.

Jin Yong’s masterful storytelling brings the vibrant world of Chinese martial arts to life, immersing readers in breathtaking battles and epic adventures. The novel’s themes of honor, friendship, and personal growth resonate throughout, making it a captivating read for both fans of epic fantasy and lovers of historical fiction.

“A Hero Born” is a gripping introduction to the beloved Legends of the Condor Heroes series, promising a captivating exploration of ancient China and the power of the human spirit. Grab your copy and prepare to be transported into a world filled with excitement, danger, and unforgettable characters.

  • Author: Jin Yong
  • Released: March 10, 2020
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top best chinese novels in english
top best chinese novels in english

To Live

“To Live” is a well-known novel written by Chinese author Yu Hua. Set amidst the tumultuous years of China’s 20th-century history, the novel delves into the life of Fugui, a once-wealthy landowner who loses everything and embarks on a journey of resilience and self-discovery.

Spanning several decades, “To Live” vividly portrays the impact of political upheaval, societal changes, and personal tragedy on the protagonist’s life. Through Fugui’s trials and tribulations, Yu Hua offers a searing criticism of the Chinese Communist Revolution and its far-reaching consequences on individual lives.

With meticulous storytelling and poetic prose, the novel exposes the deep human experiences of love, loss, and survival. Yu Hua’s masterful portrayal of characters with depth and complexity adds another layer of complexity to the narrative, creating an emotionally resonant reading experience.

“To Live” is a powerful testament to the indomitable spirit of the human condition. It captures the essence of China’s historical turmoil while examining universal themes of resilience, hope, and the pursuit of a meaningful existence. This unparalleled work of literature is not to be missed, as it continues to enrich readers with its profound insights into the human experience.

  • Author: Yu Hua
  • Released: August 26, 2003
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top best chinese novels in english
top best chinese novels in english

Young Babylon

“Young Babylon,” is a gripping novel that takes readers on an enthralling exploration of a society on the brink of collapse. Set in contemporary China, the story delves into the lives of a group of disillusioned young individuals who find solace in the gritty underbelly of a desperate city.

Nei skillfully weaves intricate narratives that tackle contemporary issues such as corruption, economic disparity, and moral bankruptcy. Through vivid descriptions and engaging dialogue, the author invites readers to reflect on the consequences of a society driven by materialism and power.

While “Young Babylon” presents a grim portrayal of modern reality, it also sheds light on the strength of human connections and the resilience of the human spirit. Nei’s characters, although flawed, are deeply relatable, offering glimpses of hope amid the chaos.

With its captivating plot, rich imagery, and thought-provoking themes, “Young Babylon” is a must-read for those seeking a compelling dive into the complexities of contemporary society. Nei’s writing enthralls from start to finish, leaving readers with lingering questions about the world we live in.

  • Author: Lu Nei
  • Released: September 1, 2015
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top best chinese novels in english
top best chinese novels in english

Monkey King: Journey to the West

“Monkey King: Journey to the West” by Wu Cheng’en is a timeless masterpiece that has captivated readers for centuries. This epic adventure, first published in the 16th century, continues to enthrall audiences with its rich storytelling and magical elements.

Set in ancient China, the novel follows the mischievous and powerful Monkey King, also known as Sun Wukong. He embarks on a perilous journey, accompanied by a motley crew of fascinating characters, including Pigsy and Sandy. Together, they face numerous challenges, navigate treacherous landscapes, and confront formidable adversaries.

“Monkey King: Journey to the West” is not only a thrilling adventure but also a profound allegory. It explores themes of perseverance, self-discovery, and the battle between good and evil. Wu Cheng’en’s storytelling prowess ensures that readers are fully immersed in a world brimming with mythical creatures, unpredictable twists, and clever wit.

This beautifully crafted novel has garnered praise for its ability to transcend cultural boundaries and engage audiences of all ages. Whether you are exploring Chinese literature or simply seeking an enchanting tale, “Monkey King: Journey to the West” is a must-read for anyone who appreciates the power of imagination and the timeless allure of a well-crafted narrative.

  • Author: Wu Cheng’en
  • Released: February 9, 2021
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top best chinese novels in english
top best chinese novels in english

Wolf Totem

“Wolf Totem”, the acclaimed novel by Jiang Rong, takes readers on an immersive and thought-provoking journey through the vast landscapes and rich cultural heritage of Inner Mongolia. The story follows Chen Zhen, a young Chinese student who relocates to the remote grasslands of Inner Mongolia to teach shepherds. Chen becomes fascinated by the sacred bond between the local nomads and their spiritual connection with wolves.

Jiang Rong beautifully captures the harmonious coexistence between humans and nature, emphasizing the delicate balance disrupted by urbanization and globalization. Illustrating the wolves as a symbol of freedom, independence, and the raw power of the untamed wilderness, the author delves deep into the intricate web of relationships that bind humans, animals, and the environment.

With vivid descriptions and a gripping narrative style, “Wolf Totem” offers profound insights into the intricate interplay between mankind and the natural world, ultimately questioning our role in preserving and respecting the delicate balance of ecosystems. Jiang Rong’s Wolf Totem is not just a mesmerizing tale but also a poignant exploration of man’s relationship with nature, powerfully reminding us of our responsibility to protect the wild spaces that still remain.

  • Author: Jiang Rong
  • Released: March 27, 2008
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top best chinese novels in english
top best chinese novels in english

Red Sorghum

“Red Sorghum,” a novel by Mo Yan and originally published in 1986, is a gripping tale set in 20th-century rural China. This epic work of fiction delves into the complex history of China’s countryside during times of war, revolution, and cultural transformation. Through vivid storytelling, Mo Yan weaves a narrative that highlights the triumph of the human spirit amid adversity.

“Red Sorghum” is a poignant novel that takes readers on a remarkable journey through the lives of the characters living in the Gaomi region of Shandong Province. The story revolves around the sorghum wine distillery owned by the Shandong family and their struggle against Japanese invaders during World War II. The novel beautifully portrays their resilience, love, and determination to preserve their traditions and fight for their homeland.

Spanning generations, “Red Sorghum” masterfully captures the tumultuous historical backdrop of China, including the Chinese Civil War and the Cultural Revolution. The author skillfully intertwines personal tales of romance, sacrifice, and ordinary heroism with the larger socio-political events, shining a light on the human experience in the face of overwhelming challenges.

In conclusion, “Red Sorghum” is a powerful testament to the indomitable human spirit and a celebration of the resilience and courage displayed by individuals facing extraordinary circumstances. Mo Yan’s evocative writing transports readers to a tumultuous era while shining a light on the enduring bonds of love, familial ties, and the importance of cultural heritage. This novel remains a must-read for those seeking a captivating and thought-provoking narrative set against the backdrop of China’s tumultuous history.

  • Author: Mo Yan
  • Released: 1986
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top best chinese novels in english
top best chinese novels in english

The Vagrants

“The Vagrants” by Yiyun Li is a powerful novel that delves into the themes of identity, resistance, and the oppressive nature of society. Set in a small town in post-Maoist China, the novel follows the lives of the residents as they struggle against the repressive regime and face the consequences of their actions.

Li’s stunning prose vividly captures the deep-rooted sense of hopelessness and despair that permeates the lives of these characters. Through her richly drawn characters, she explores the individual’s longing for freedom and the lengths they are willing to go to obtain it.

“The Vagrants” provides a profound examination of the human spirit and its capacity for resilience in the face of overwhelming adversity. Li’s exploration of identity and resistance allows readers to question societal constructs and reflect on the power of individual agency. With its compelling narrative and thought-provoking themes, “The Vagrants” is a must-read for those interested in exploring the complexities of human nature and the struggle for freedom.

  • Author: Yiyun Li
  • Released: February 16, 2010
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top best chinese novels in english
top best chinese novels in english

Soul Mountain

“Soul Mountain” is an enthralling masterpiece that takes readers on a transformative journey through the enchanting landscapes of China. Set against the backdrop of the rapidly changing Chinese society, “Soul Mountain” explores the protagonist’s encounters with diverse characters, both real and imagined, as he navigates breathtaking landscapes and uncovers the layers of his own identity.

Blurring the lines between fact and fiction, Gao delves into the complexities of Chinese history, culture, and philosophy, making the novel not only a personal odyssey but also a profound exploration of collective experiences. Gao’s poetic prose captivates readers, immersing them in the beauty of nature and inviting contemplation of profound philosophical questions. Through vivid imagery and lyrical storytelling, “Soul Mountain” challenges conventional narrative structures, provoking readers to question their own perceptions of reality, human connection, and the ultimate search for truth.

In the author’s exploration of the duality of human existence, “Soul Mountain” offers a unique perspective on the relationship between individuals and the world around them. Gao’s themes of self-discovery, cultural assimilation, and the complexities of modern China resonate deeply, evoking a sense of longing and introspection in readers.

“Soul Mountain” remains an enduring testament to Gao Xingjian’s literary genius. Through its profound storytelling and exploration of existentialist themes, this novel offers a transformative reading experience that will leave a lasting impression on all who embark on its pages.

  • Author: Gao Xingjian
  • Released: October 23, 2001
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top best chinese novels in english
top best chinese novels in english

The Four Books

“The Four Books” is a remarkable novel that offers readers a profound exploration of political history and the human condition. Written by Chinese author Yan Lianke, the book takes place during the tumultuous period of the “Great Leap Forward” in 1950s China.

With a powerful narrative, “The Four Books” delves into the lives of political prisoners in a reeducation camp, emphasizing their struggles, hopes, and dreams. Through vivid storytelling, Yan Lianke exposes the brutal realities of oppression and the resilience of the human spirit.

The novel is marked by its rich character development, as each individual grapples with their own past and present circumstances. Readers are prompted to reflect on themes of power, truth, and ultimately, the triumph of humanity in the face of adversity.

Yan Lianke’s “The Four Books” captivates readers with its thought-provoking exploration of history, morality, and the complexities of human nature. It serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of truth, justice, and the struggle for freedom.

  • Author: Yan Lianke
  • Released: March 8, 2016
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top best chinese novels in english

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top best chinese novels in english

China Dream

“China Dream” is a compelling novel written by renowned Chinese author Ma Jian. Published in 2018, it serves as a thought-provoking exploration of political power and personal identity in contemporary China. The novel focuses on the life of Ma Daode, a high-ranking government official who becomes consumed by his obsession with the “China Dream.”

This term, coined by President Xi Jinping, symbolizes the country’s aspirations for national rejuvenation and prosperity. As Ma Daode strives to fulfill this dream, the novel delves into his inner conflicts and the consequences of his actions, reflecting a broader critique of the Communist Party’s grip on power.

Jian’s writing style is characterized by his cynical yet piercing prose, which effectively portrays the challenges faced by individuals as they strive to navigate an authoritarian society. By blending satire, social commentary, and political critique, the author presents a compelling narrative that evokes emotions and prompts readers to reflect on the complexities of contemporary China.

  • Author: Ma Jian
  • Released: May 7, 2018
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top best chinese novels in english
top best chinese novels in english

The Wedding Party

“The Wedding Party” by Liu Xinwu is a captivating novel that unfolds within the confines of a Beijing siheyuan, a traditional quadrangle of homes, on a brisk December morning in 1982. The story centers around the joyous occasion of Auntie Xue’s son, Jiyue, getting married. Determined to make the day a triumph, Auntie Xue faces the challenge of her son’s woeful ignorance about matters of the heart and the body.

With a colorful cast of characters spanning generations, including family members, a fretful bridal party, exasperating friends, interfering neighbors, and unexpected wedding crashers, the novel offers a delightful blend of humor and heartwarming moments.

Set against the backdrop of post-Cultural Revolution China, Liu Xinwu weaves together intricate lives and stories within stories, creating a rich tapestry of human experiences. “The Wedding Party” is a touching and often hilarious portrait of life in Beijing, showcasing the complexity of ordinary days that can be both perfectly normal and extraordinarily extraordinary. It’s a novel that captures the essence of a changing era and the enduring bonds of family and community.

  • Author: Liu Xinwu
  • Released: November 16, 2021
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top best chinese novels in english
top best chinese novels in english