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Mustard Seed Itinerary (Paperback)

Historical Fiction

Imprint: EnvelopeBooks
Pages: 304
ISBN: 9781838172046
Published: 14th October 2021

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All roads lead to the Celestial City and when schoolmaster Po Cheng drinks too much and falls into a dream, he finds himself on just such a road. Assisted by teaching colleague Miss Ling, Po Cheng reaches the imperial capital, rising up through the giddy ranks of the Chinese civil service to become Prime Minister. Good fortune appears endless, not least when Miss Ling reappears as an artist’s model who has changed her name to Precious Pearl so she can pose in the Forest of Brushes Academy of Art without her parents finding out. But what Heaven—and alcohol—hand out, they can also claw back. Trouble is brewing inside and outside the city walls, and Po Cheng’s eminence means he must now take the rap and face consequences inevitable from the start. Mustard Seed Itinerary is a brilliant first novel by an important new voice, bringing to the formal conventions of traditional Chinese literature the wry humour of Carrollian satire. As Mullen says, ‘In Daoism and Buddhism, dream journeys serve as voyages of discovery from which only a blockhead would return none the wiser. And Po Cheng is no blockhead.’

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