An immediate sensation upon publication in China, "I Love Dollars" makes high comedy out of modern everyday life in China. In the title story, a young man, acutely aware of his filial duty, sets out to secure a prostitute for his father, only to haggle his old man out of a good time. This and other stories amplify China's identity crisis in post-Mao settings ranging from an old Yangtze River vessel to failing factories, cheap diners, and a for-profit hospital run according to dated socialist norms. Through a cast of brilliantly drawn characters, Zhu Wen's stories create a vivid portrait of contemporary China - its wealth and poverty, humour and chaos.
Zhu Wen became a full-time writer in 1994 after working for five years in a thermal power plant. His work has been published in mainland China's most prestigious literary magazines, and he has produced several poetry and short story collections and one novel. He has also directed four films, including Seafood, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2001 Venice Film Festival, and South of the Clouds, which won the NETPAC Prize at the 2004 Berlin Festival. He lives in Beijing. Julia Lovell is a translator and critic of modern Chinese literature and a research fellow at Queens' College, Cambridge.