Penguin Book


In the Dark

Mai Jia

IN THE DARK is Mai Jia's second novel. Structured as a file cabinet, it is composed of five interlinked stories. Each story tells of an unsung hero of the Intelligence Unit 701, first introduced in DECODED. They are from three divisions: The "Wind-Listeners" are people in charge of radio surveillance; The "Wind-Watchers" are code breakers; The "Wind-Catchers," field agents. Each protagonist is extremely accomplished in their profession, but deeply flawed in other aspects, and each dies in the end in seemingly absurd and ironic accidents. Told through five linked stories and spanning thirty years, it is a stunning epic of radio surveillance, code breaking and secret missions in which psychics, revolutionaries and math geniuses fight for survival. The novel was an instant bestseller, and Mai Jia was hired to adapt the book for TV. The 30-episode TV series went on air in 2005 and became a national sensation. IN THE DARK won the Mao Dun Literary Award in 2008. It is also widely considered the pioneer of a new wave of espionage writing in China. The Mao Dun Award Commendation speech for IN THE DARK: "In the world of contemporary Chinese literature, Mai Jia's writings are undoubtedly unique. IN THE DARK describes the unfortunate destiny that awaits people with special gifts, and this book records the truly amazing achievements of individuals trapped in impossible situations. These tales of code-breaking are full of twists and turns, filled with mystery and suspense, while at the same time giving a rich and detailed description of the human spirit. Mai Jia's novels are highly imaginative and his conception of characters remarkably delicate, unusual and challenging. His style of writing is at once powerful and simple, as if an intellect that has experienced great suffering can guide you through the valleys of the unknown and out into a limitless universe. His writings allow you the privilege of enjoying a secret, a pleasure, an unexpected surprise."

Mai Jia (the pseudonym of Jiang Benhu) is arguably the most successful writer in China today. His books are constant bestsellers, with total sales over three million copies. He has achieved unprecedented success with film adaptation: all of his novels are made - or are being made - into major films or TV series, the screenplays of which are often written by Mai Jia himself. He is hailed as the forerunner of Chinese espionage fiction, and has created a unique genre that combines spycraft, code-breaking, crime, human drama, historical fiction, and metafiction. He has won almost every major award in China, including the highest literary honor - the Mao Dun Award. Mai Jia was born in 1964. Through a chance encounter, he was recruited by the Army Engineering Academy, where he ended up serving for seventeen years. The purpose of the training, unknown to him, was to create army intelligence officers. In short: spies. Mai Jia did not become a spy, but during the years working at a top secret unit, he got to know a group of people who worked in obscurity either by choice or by order. They formed the prototypes of many of the characters Mai Jia would one day write about. The five stories that make up IN THE DARK, as well as the author's previous novel, DECODED, are all narrated by someone called "Mai Jia," whose background is very similar to the writer himself: ex-military, probably worked in intelligence, has a journalistic approach to writing these stories, etc. This technique lends a surprisingly realistic atmosphere to the books, while at the same time makes the author, who is already very low-profile, even more mysterious.

Division
Penguin
Publication date
27/08/2015
Category
  • Fiction
Format TPS
198 x 129mm
Extent
400
US
Georgina Capel Associates
Translation
Georgina Capel Associates
Film
Georgina Capel Associates
Serial
Georgina Capel Associates
Audio (Unabridged)
Georgina Capel Associates
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