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A beautiful novella in 50 short chapters and 10 pictures about the life of Bada Shanren, the most influential Chinese painter of all times.

In 1626, Bada Shanren is born into the Chinese royal family. When the old Ming Dynasty crumbles, he becomes an artist, committed to capturing the essence of nature with a single brushstroke. Then the rulers of the new Qing Dynasty discover his identity and Bada must feign madness to escape.

Why Peirene chose to publish this book: ‘Fact and fiction arrive at a perfect union in this exquisite novella. A beautiful story about the quiet determined pursuit of inspiration, this is a charming and uplifting book. After reading it, I looked at the world a little differently.’ Meike Ziervogel

‘The book is 110 pages (and 11 of those are pictures), but – much like one of Shanren's paintings – contains far more than its small compass might suggest.’ Brandon Robshaw, Independent on Sunday

‘Delicate and moving.’ Boyd Tonkin, Independent

‘Intriguing, elegant, awesome in its precision and uplifting in its sheer beauty, this is a book to read, enjoy... and then read again.’ Pam Norfolk, Lancashire Evening Post

‘The author’s cool, succinct prose and use of short chapters enhance the meditative nature of this beguiling story, which interweaves art theory, history, metaphysics and narrative.’ Shelf Unbound

‘A powerful, poetic book. A two-hour enchantment.’ Kulturspiegel

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