Chinese author Zhang Yueran to visit UK in May 2023 with her translator Jeremy Tiang

Described by Ian McEwan as ‘ a triumph’ , this story of friendship, trauma, family secrets and the aftermath of the Cultural Revolution caught the imagination of reviewers and readers everywhere.

Yueran will be speaking at the Oxford China Centre on  Wednesday 17 May at 5 pm in the Dickson Poon Building, Canterbury Road, Oxford, OX2 6LU

To find out more, or book a ticket visit the website:

Zhang Yueran speaking at China Centre – Oxford Talks

Here is what some of the reviewers said about Cocoon:

A magnificent, resonant book, both a detective story and a philosophical investigation, told through two narratives that merge in unconventional ways: time slips back and forth as three generations seem to meld into one another. At the novel’s heart are questions of justice, retribution, class rupture and historical reckoning. But Cocoon’s emotional power arises from a very particular phenomenon: the intimacy, and vast gulf, between fathers and their children.”
MADELEINE THIEN, Times Literary Supplement 

“Zhang Yueran’s fierce, tender, penetrating Cocoon shows how the catastrophic legacy of Mao’s Cultural Revolution blights Chinese lives.”
BOYD TONKIN’s favorite books of 2022 in The Spectator

“An irresistible siren-song of a novel by one of our most original voices … a grandfather lies in a coma, his brain destroyed by a nail and two friends reach across time and the gaps between them to unravel the mystery of that nail, a mystery that has haunted and tormented both their families. A transcendent novel that suggests that family secrets and family crimes are the nation from which none of us can ever fully escape.”
JUNOT DÍAZ, Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

“Zhang writes with fine-grained intelligence and sensitivity. … Zhang’s focus and finesse—plus the rhythmic subtlety of Tiang’s English prose—make this novel a luminous gateway into current Chinese fiction.”
Wall Street Journal

“Zhang’s prose is meticulously economical and is well served by her long-term translator, Jeremy Tiang. In this expertly constructed novel she achieves a masterful blend of narrative suspense, emotional intimacy and self-discovery: as her characters struggle to recapture their childhood friendship, unravel the reasons for the long estrangement and understand the many ways in which their own lives have been blighted by the past, they progressively reveal to the reader the generational trauma that afflicts both families, elegantly evoking the lived experience of millions more.”
The Guardian

“Zhang is unsparing in her description of the unresolved legacies of China’s recent past. She not only traces the dark shadow of revolutionary violence inflicted on the society but also questions the nature and degree of wellbeing promised by the endless curation of material self-interest.”
Irish Times

“Flickers of personal history can quietly suggest a national scale. … As the past gives up its ghosts, Cocoon becomes a tapestry.”
The Telegraph

“The nail in the skull serves as an indelible metaphor for a country for whom the wiping out of collective memory is embedded within the national psyche.”
Daily Mail