1. Three-Body Problem, 2. These Violent Delights, 3. Girl in Translation, 4. To Live, 5. Descendant of the Crane, 6. Romance of the Three Kingdoms, 7. The Wolf Totem, 8. Journey to the West, 9. Red Sorghum, 10. Want, 11. Water Margin, 12. The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain, 13. Dream of the Red Chamber, 14. The Crystal Ribbon, 15. The Moon Opera. Chinese literature has a rich history spanning thousands of years, and the country has produced numerous acclaimed novels that have captivated readers around the world. From classic works to modern masterpieces, Chinese novels offer a unique glimpse into the country's culture, history, and society. In this article, Toplist has listed some Chinese novels that you can refer to.
- Three-Body Problem
- These Violent Delights
- Girl in Translation
- To Live
- Descendant of the Crane
- Romance of the Three Kingdoms
- The Wolf Totem
- Journey to the West
- Red Sorghum
- Water Margin
- The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain
- Dream of the Red Chamber
- The Crystal Ribbon
- The Moon Opera
“The Three-Body Problem,” written by Chinese author Liu Cixin, is a captivating and thought-provoking science fiction novel that takes readers on an enthralling journey across time and space. Against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution in the 1960s, the story follows a group of scientists as they investigate a series of unexplained phenomena related to the titular three-body problem: a problem in classical mechanics that remains unsolved.
The narrative seamlessly intertwines science and philosophy, exploring humanity’s relationship with the wider universe and the challenges posed by the discovery of an alien civilization threatened by the impending destruction of their planet. This discovery sets off a chain of events resonating throughout generations, incorporating elements of ecological disaster, technological advancements, and political intrigue.
Liu Cixin skillfully weaves an intricate web of suspense, blurring the boundaries between reality and imagination. Through his richly developed characters, he examines fundamental questions about the nature of existence, the limits of scientific knowledge, and the inherent flaws of humanity.
“The Three-Body Problem” is a must-read for fans of hard science fiction, offering a unique and compelling blend of scientific exploration, mystery, and existential wonder. Its exploration of the universe and humanity’s place within it will leave readers pondering long after they have turned the final page.
- Author: Cixin Liu
- Released: January 12, 2016
- Buy Now: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0765382032
Image via www.amazon.com
These Violent Delights
“These Violent Delights” is a gripping novel written by Chloe Gong that delights readers with its intriguing storyline set in 1920s Shanghai. The book artfully combines elements of Romeo and Juliet with gangster noir, transporting readers to a city on the brink of chaos. Gong presents a tale of forbidden love and fierce rivalries in a divided city.
The story follows Juliette Cai, heir to the Scarlet Gang, and Roma Montagov, heir to the White Flowers, as they navigate the complex web of power, violence, and family loyalty. Amid rising tensions between the rival gangs, a blood feud and a mysterious plague endanger the fragile peace. Juliette and Roma are drawn to each other, their love threatened by their warring factions and buried secrets.
With its thrilling plot, rich historical backdrop, and a dash of magic, “These Violent Delights” captivates readers with its unique take on a beloved classic. Gong’s writing seamlessly blends culture, love, and danger to create a captivating narrative that will leave readers hungry for more.
- Author: Chloe Gong
- Released: November 17, 2020
- Buy Now: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1534457690
Girl in Translation
“Girl in Translation” is a famous novel written by Jean Kwok. Set in the 1980s, the story follows the life of Kimberly Chang, a young Chinese immigrant who moves to Brooklyn with her mother. Facing numerous hardships and language barriers, Kimberly wills herself to succeed academically, earning a scholarship to a prestigious school. However, her tumultuous journey is further complicated by her grueling job at a sweatshop, where she and her mother endure harsh working conditions.
The novel explores themes of identity, assimilation, and the pursuit of the American dream. It delves into Kimberly’s struggle to balance the expectations of her traditional Chinese heritage with her desire for a better future. Kwok’s writing beautifully captures the challenges faced by immigrants as they navigate a new culture while still honoring their roots. “Girl in Translation” is a poignant and inspiring tale that sheds light on the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity.
- Author: Jean Kwok
- Released: May 3, 2011
- Buy Now: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1594485151
Image via www.jeankwok.com
The novel delves into the themes of resilience, family, and the human spirit in the face of adversity. Fugui, originally a wealthy landowner, loses his fortune through gambling, forcing him to adapt to his new circumstances. From being a pampered aristocrat, he learns the true value of life, love, and survival.
“To Live” depicts the tumultuous period of Chinese history, encompassing the Japanese invasion, the Civil War, and the Cultural Revolution. Through Fugui’s personal journey, Yu Hua offers a vivid portrayal of the hardships faced by ordinary people during these tumultuous times, as well as the profound impact of political ideology on their lives. In short, “To Live” is a thought-provoking and emotionally charged novel that captures the essence of the human experience amidst societal and historical upheavals.
- Author: Yu Hua
- Released: August 26, 2003
- Buy Now: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1400031869
Descendant of the Crane
“Descendant of the Crane” is a well-known novel written by Joan He that blends fantasy, mystery, and court intrigue into a thrilling story. Set in the fictional kingdom of Yan, the story follows Hesina, a young princess who becomes queen after her father’s unexpected death.
Determined to uncover the truth behind her father’s murder, she bends the rules of the kingdom and enlists the help of a convict and a soothsayer. As she delves deeper into the mystery, she discovers dark secrets and power struggles that threaten not only her rule but the entire kingdom.
With its complex characters, political scheming, and Chinese-inspired world-building, “Descendant of the Crane” enthralls readers from beginning to end. This novel explores themes of family loyalty, justice, and the moral complexities of wielding power. It’s a must-read for fans of fantasy and mystery genres alike.
- Author: Joan He
- Released: September 27, 2022
- Buy Now: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1250815908
Image via www.joanhewrites.com
Romance of the Three Kingdoms
“Romance of the Three Kingdoms” is a Chinese historical novel written by Luo Guanzhong during the 14th century. Set in the tumultuous period of the Three Kingdoms (AD 184-280), it chronicles the epic struggle for power and the complex web of alliances and betrayals between the warlords who emerged after the fall of the Han Dynasty.
The novel follows the lives of numerous characters, including the valiant warrior Liu Bei, the strategic genius Zhuge Liang, the warlord Cao Cao, and many others. It explores their personal ambitions, military strategies, and the intricacies of their relationships as they vie for control of China.
Through its gripping storytelling, “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” delves into themes of loyalty, honor, political maneuverings, and the consequences of war. It offers profound insights into human nature, portraying both heroism and treachery and is considered a literary masterpiece that has had a significant influence on Chinese culture and literature.
- Author: Luo Guanzhong
- Released: September 11, 2018
- Buy Now: https://www.amazon.com/dp/024133277X
Screenshot via www.amazon.com
The Wolf Totem
“The Wolf Totem,” written by Jiang Rong, is a captivating novel that delves into the intricate relationship between humans and nature. Set in the 1960s during China’s Cultural Revolution, Chen Zhen, a young student sent to Inner Mongolia to help educate the nomadic herders. While there, he becomes enamored with the ancient bond between the Mongolian people and the wolves.
“The Wolf Totem” is a thought-provoking and poignant tale that explores themes of change, evolution, and the need for humanity to harmonize with the environment. Rong’s writing skillfully weaves together folklore, philosophy, and environmental awareness, creating a profound reading experience that will leave readers reflecting on their own relationship with nature.
- Author: Jiang Rong
- Released: March 27, 2008
- Buy Now: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1594201560
Journey to the West
“Journey to the West” is a classic Chinese novel written by Wu Cheng’en during the Ming Dynasty. The story follows the adventures of the Monkey King, Sun Wukong, as he accompanies the monk Xuanzang on a perilous journey to obtain sacred Buddhist scriptures from India.
Throughout the novel, the characters encounter numerous challenges and obstacles that test their determination, loyalty, and wisdom. They face encounters with powerful demons, dangerous spirits, and treacherous deities, all aimed at hindering their mission. The Monkey King, with his incredible strength and magical abilities, provides both comic relief and crucial assistance along the way.
However, “Journey to the West” is not merely an adventurous tale. It also explores profound themes such as spirituality, moral values, and the nature of human desires. The novel’s rich symbolism and allegorical nature have made it not only entertaining but also an important literary work in Chinese culture.
- Author: Wu Cheng’en
- Released: January 1, 2003
- Buy Now: https://www.amazon.com/dp/7119016636
“Red Sorghum,” written by renowned Chinese author Mo Yan, is a deeply moving novel set in the backdrop of war-torn China during the mid-20th century. This epic tale takes readers on a fascinating journey, providing a glimpse into the country’s tumultuous history and the resilience of its people.
The story revolves around the lives of a family, their sorghum wine distillery, and their intricate connections with the land and its traditions. Amidst the chaos of the Japanese invasion and the Chinese Civil War, the protagonists navigate through love, sacrifice, and survival.
Mo Yan’s vivid descriptive language intertwines the rural landscapes of his homeland, the intoxicating aroma of fermented sorghum, the brutalities of war, and the passionate human spirit. Through his masterful storytelling, he delves into themes of tradition, power dynamics, and the consequences of war.
“Red Sorghum” serves as a powerful reminder of the enduring power of love, resilience, and the indomitable spirit of the Chinese people. It is a novel that invites readers to reflect upon the human experience and the lasting effects of historical events on individuals and communities
- Author: Mo Yan
- Released: April 1, 1994
- Buy Now: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0140168540
“Want” by Cindy Pon is a powerful and thought-provoking novel set in a futuristic Taipei. This young adult science fiction book explores themes of environmentalism, social inequality, and the consequences of unchecked technology.
In this dystopian world, the wealthy population is able to afford protective suits to shield them from the polluted air, while the poor are left to suffer the toxic consequences. The story follows Jason Zhou, a young activist, and his group of friends as they infiltrate the elite society in order to bring justice to the city. Along the way, Zhou faces moral dilemmas and discovers the true extent of corruption surrounding him.
Through vivid storytelling and captivating characters, Pon addresses pressing issues of our time, drawing attention to the growing divide between the rich and the poor and the urgent need for change. “Want” serves as a timely reminder of the power of collective action and highlights the importance of fighting for a just and sustainable future.
- Author: Cindy Pon
- Released: June 13, 2017
- Buy Now: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1481489224
“Water Margin,” also known as “Outlaws of the Marsh,” is a classic Chinese novel written during the 14th century by Shi Nai’an. The story takes place during the Song Dynasty and follows a group of 108 outlaws who band together in the Liangshan Marsh to fight against corrupt government officials.
Through its action-packed plot, “Water Margin” criticizes the bureaucratic system and highlights the unjust treatment of the common people during the Song Dynasty. It depicts the outlaws’ bravery and determination in fighting for the rights of the oppressed. Overall, “Water Margin” is a captivating novel that combines adventure, heroism, and social commentary to create a literary masterpiece that continues to resonate with readers today.
- Author: Shi Naian
- Released: June 10, 2010
- Buy Now: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0804840954
The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain
“The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain” is a renowned collection of ancient Chinese poetry written by the hermit poet Han Shan during the Tang Dynasty. This novel, also known as the “Cold Mountain Anthology,” consists of poems that reflect the poet’s solitary life in the mountains, emphasizing themes of nature, spirituality, and the human condition.
The content of the novel portrays Han Shan’s deep connection with nature and his quest for enlightenment, while also offering profound insights into the struggles and mysteries of life. The poems capture the essence of his meditative experiences, depicting the vastness of the natural world and the transient nature of human existence.
In addition, the collection comments on the simplicity and detachment from material possessions as a means to attain spiritual liberation. Altogether, “The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain” offers readers a contemplative journey into the poet’s inner thoughts and serves as a timeless exploration of the human spirit seeking solace in nature.
- Author: Cold Mountain (Han Shan)
- Released: June 1, 2000
- Buy Now: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1556591403
Dream of the Red Chamber
“Dream of the Red Chamber” is a classic Chinese novel written by Tsao Hsueh-Chin in the 18th century. Also known as “The Story of the Stone,” it tells the tragic love story of Jia Baoyu, a young nobleman, and Lin Daiyu, his cousin. Set in the Qing Dynasty, the novel provides a vivid portrayal of aristocratic life, exploring themes of love, family, and societal norms.
The story revolves around the decline of the Jia Clan, a wealthy and influential family. It delves into complex relationships among family members, as well as the intricate realities of court politics and social hierarchies. Through its extensive cast of characters and detailed descriptions, the novel also addresses themes such as identity, morality, and the transient nature of human existence. With its poetic and lyrical language, “Dream of the Red Chamber” is not only a literary masterpiece but also serves as a cultural symbol, reflecting the values and traditions of ancient China.
- Author: Tsao Hsueh-Chin
- Released: November 20, 1958
- Buy Now: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0385093799
The Crystal Ribbon
“The Crystal Ribbon” is a well-known novel written by Celeste Lim that takes readers on a memorable journey through ancient China. Set in the Ming Dynasty, the book follows the story of 12-year-old Jing, a courageous girl whose life takes a dramatic turn when she is sold as a child bride to a wealthy family.
As Jing grapples with her new life, she discovers a magical white snake hidden deep within her, providing her with a glimmer of hope and an escape from her oppressive circumstances. The novel beautifully explores themes of resilience, friendship, and the power of self-discovery.
Lim weaves a tale that not only captivates readers but also sheds light on the struggles faced by young girls in traditional Chinese society. Through this heartfelt historical fiction, readers are transported to a world of adventure, mystery, and the enduring power of the human spirit.
In summary, “The Crystal Ribbon” is a must-read novel that delves into the life of a young girl fighting against formidable odds, offering readers an immersive experience of ancient China and the universal themes of love, empowerment, and self-discovery.
- Author: Celeste Lim
- Released: January 31, 2017
- Buy Now: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0545767032
The Moon Opera
“The Moon Opera” is a captivating novel written by Bi Feiyu that takes readers on a mesmerizing journey into the world of Chinese opera. Set in the midst of China’s Cultural Revolution, it follows the life and career of the talented opera singer, Chang’e.
The novel explores themes of ambition, love, loyalty, and sacrifice as Chang’e strives to achieve greatness in her art despite facing numerous obstacles. Through richly painted descriptions, Feiyu delves into the intricacies of Chinese opera, unraveling its secrets and the deep emotions it evokes.
As the story unfolds, readers are captivated by the complex relationships between the characters and the sacrifices they make to achieve their dreams. From Chang’e’s turbulent relationship with her mentor and lover to her struggle for recognition in a male-dominated industry, the novel delivers a poignant tale of perseverance and identity. “The Moon Opera” offers a glimpse into the inner workings of Chinese opera, while delving into the universal themes of passion, identity, and the pursuit of artistic excellence.
- Author: Bi Feiyu
- Released: January 29, 2009
- Buy Now: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0151012946