Distant Sunflower Fields
Written by Li Juan
Translated by Christopher Payne
It's three women, two dogs, and one dream in this unforgettable and unique memoir about the resilience of both mankind and nature.
An iron-willed mother, an ageing grandmother, a pair of mismatched dogs and 90 acres of less-than-ideal farmland: these are Li Juan's companions on the steppes of the Gobi Desert.
Writing out of a yurt under Xinjiang's endless horizons, she documents her family's quest to extract a bounty of sunflowers amid the harsh beauty and barren expanses of Chinas northwest frontier.
Success must be eked out in the face of lifes unnegotiable realities: sandstorms, locusts and death. While this small tribe is held at the mercy of these headwinds, they discover the cheer and dignity hidden in each other. But will their ceaseless labours deliver blooming fields of green and yellow? Or will their dreams prove as distant as they are fragile?