“Dragon’s Gate is a superb book, a fascinating story written from the heart and woven into a complex cultural and historical tapestry – a modern classic in the making.” – Robert Macklin, author of Dragon and Kangaroo
Beijing teenager, Shi Ding, is thriving during the Cultural Revolution. He has won acclaim for his storytelling and for his clever entrapment of class enemies, especially those seeking to escape punishment through suicide. Suddenly, his father kills himself. Grief-stricken and now the son of a suspicious suicide, Shi Ding finds himself ostracised. Why did his father do it? Did it have something to do with that attractive neighbour, the university professor? Before he can learn more, the woman kills herself too. Ordered to guard her home, Shi Ding becomes enthralled by her library of banned world classics. He devours their stories, obsessed with finding a way to share them with a story-starved populace. But how, when doing so is dangerous?
The title is based on a Sichuan idiom for telling a story: “scaffolding the dragon’s gate”.
Watch Vivian Bi in a conversation with cultural facilitator and translator, Jane Sydenham-Kwiet, where she describes the background of Mao’s Communist China and its impact on China’s cultural landscape as depicted in her 2020-published novel, Dragon’s Gate in this episode of SCCI Virtual Fashion Hub 2020 https://www.scci.org.au/communist-china-fashion-hub/
About the author:
Vivian (Xiyan) Bi is a published author of several novels (including Bright Swallow, 2019), short stories, translations and textbooks. She is the Chinese Coordinator in Ascham School, Sydney, and was a lecturer in Chinese Studies at the University of Sydney. She has received four grants from the Australia Council for the Arts. She lives in Sydney.
The unique interweaving of fascinating tales set in exotic places with familiar and much-loved western classics makes this book a page turner from beginning to end. – Jane Sydenham-Kwiet