LIU Xin-wu : The wedding party

On a December morning in 1982, the courtyard of a Beijing siheyuan—a lively quadrangle of homes—begins to stir. Auntie Xue’s son Jiyue is getting married today, and she is determined to make the day a triumph. Despite Jiyue’s woeful ignorance in matters of the heart—and the body. Despite a chef in training tasked with the onerous responsibility of preparing the banquet. With a cross-generational multitude of guests, from anxious family members to a fretful bridal party—not to mention exasperating friends, interfering neighbors, and wedding crashers—what will the day ahead bring ?
Set at a pivotal point after the turmoil of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Liu Xinwu’s tale weaves together a rich tapestry of characters, intertwined lives, and stories within stories. The Wedding Party is a touching, hilarious portrait of life in this singular city, all packed into a Beijing courtyard on a single day that manages to be both perfectly normal and utterly extraordinary at the same time.

Netgalley provided me with this novel in exchange for an honest opinion.
This book that I'd never heard of is apparently a Chinese classic about the lives of modest Chinese people living in the 1980s and before.
I can understand why it's a classic because it's basically a photograph of China at that time and all that took place during and after the revolution. The author begins with a wedding party (of course) and tells us a little about what are or have been the lives of the people attending it. Then, the wedding taking place in a sihehyuan (see picture below), we learn about the past and present of the people living there too.

My personal problem with this book is that there were so many characters that I had trouble remembering who was who and did what. I remembered some of them - and maybe the names didn't matter much, only the recounting of history did. This is a novel best read in one or two sittings, not putting it down and picking it up as I had to do. You should give it a minimum concentration, something I was not able to do at this moment, so I DNFed it at 40% approximately.
However, it did not repell me in the least and I'd love to pick it back later and give it all the attention it deserves.


  1. This would be neat to read a snapshot into the time period over in China. I read a Chinese murder mystery earlier this year that made me curious about life during that transition period. Good to know that this is loaded down with characters and needs a large space of time to finish it quickly.

    1. I haven't read much Chinese literature, I'm afraid, only the Inspector Chen Cao series by Qiu Xiaolong. I'm now curious about the one you read :)