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  • The Drunkard

The Drunkard

A Novel by Liu Yichang

By Liu Yichang / Translated by Charlotte Chun-lam Yiu / Edited with an Introduction and Notes by Nick Hordern

English , 2020/07 Hong Kong Literature Series The Chinese University of Hong Kong Press

Tags: Literature, Translation

216 x 127 x 23 mm , 388pp ISBN / ISSN : 978-988-237-186-6

  • US$39.00

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The Drunkard has been selected in the “Book Jackets and Covers” category for the 2021 Association of University Presses “Book, Jacket, and Journal Show.”


Series Editor: John Minford 

The Drunkard is one of the first full-length stream-of-consciousness novels written in Chinese. It has been called the Hong Kong novel, and was first published in 1962 as a serial in a Hong Kong evening paper. As the unnamed Narrator, a writer at odds with a philistine world, sinks to his drunken nadir, his plight can be seen to represent that of a whole intelligentsia, a whole culture, degraded by the brutal forces of history: the Second Sino-Japanese War and the rampant capitalism of postwar Hong Kong.

The often surrealistic description of the Narrator’s inexorable descent through the seedy bars and nightclubs of Hong Kong, of his numerous encounters with dance-girls and his ever more desperate bouts of drinking, is counterpointed by a series of wide-ranging literary essays, analysing the Chinese classical tradition, the popular culture of China and the West, and the modernist movement in Western and Chinese literature.

The ambiance of Hong Kong in the early 1960s is graphically evoked in this powerful and poignant novel, which takes the reader to the very heart of Hong Kong. Hong Kong director Freddie Wong made a fine film version of the novel in 2010.


Liu Yichang was born in Shanghai in 1918. He left China in 1948, and in 1957 settled in Hong Kong, where he edited the literary supplements of various newspapers. In 1985 he launched the literary magazine Hong Kong Literature and was its chief editor until 2000, acting as mentor to a whole new generation of writers including Xi Xi and Leung Ping-kwan. Liu published more than 30 books and continued to write extensively for Hong Kong newspapers. His short story ‘Intersection’ and his novel The Drunkard were acknowledged by the Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai to have been an inspiration for his films In the Mood for Love (2000) and 2046 (2004). Liu died in 2018, just six months short of his hundredth birthday.


Charlotte Chun-lam Yiu is currently studying for her doctorate degree in Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Michigan.


Nick Hordern is an experienced Australian writer and journalist and former government adviser on foreign affairs.

Series Editor

John Minford is Emeritus Professor of Chinese at The Australian National University and Sin Wai Kin Professor of Chinese Culture and Translation at the Hang Seng University of Hong Kong.

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Please click here to download the pdf.
Please click here to download the pdf.

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