Dr. Bethune's Children
Xue Yiwei. Translator Darryl Sterk
Dr. Bethune’s Children tells the stories of the offspring of two ordinary families marked by cataclysms both natural and man-made. From the Cultural Revolution to the Tiananmen Square massacre, the novel unfolds against a backdrop of the international developments that have rocked everyday life from the Cold War to the emergence of the super power that China is today. Banned in China, Dr. Bethune’s Children is hailed as a masterpiece. In focusing on the distress and repression that have marked a whole generation, Xue Yiwei unveils the human heart.
This is the subversive novel that only Xue Yiwei could write. Like millions of other Chinese growing up since the 1960s, when Mao Zedong’s eulogy to Bethune was required reading in every elementary school, Xue Yiwei was Inspired by the Montreal doctor’s self-sacrifice (he died treating the wartime wounded) and his dedication to the Chinese regime. Unlike his peers, however, Xue Yiwei went to the lengths of moving to Montreal, where he has lived for sixteen years as an expatriate writer acclaimed in China and unknown in Canada. Until now.
Xue Yiwei is an award-winning Chinese-Canadian writer born in Chenzhou and raised in the Hunan province. He has a BSc in Computer Science from Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, an MA in English Literature from Université de Montréal, and a PhD in Linguistics from Guangdong University of Foreign Studies. He is the author of sixteen books in Chinese, including four novels—Desertion (1989, reissued 2012), Dr. Bethune’s Children (2011), Farewells from a Shadow (2013), and Empty Nest (2014)—and five collections of stories. His first book in translation, Shenzheners (trans. Darryl Sterk) was published by LLP in 2016. The 2017 winner of the Montreal Diversity Literary Award presented by the Montreal Arts Council and Blue Metropolis Foundation, he lives in Montreal.
Darryl Sterk is a Mandarin Chinese-English literary translator. In addition to Shenzheners, Dr. Bethune's Children, and Home Sickness for LLP, he has translated Wu Ming-yi's The Man With the Compound Eyes (Harvill Secker) and The Stolen Bicycle (Text), as well as Horace Ho's The Tree Fort on Carnation Lane (Balestier) and short stories for The Taipei Chinese Pen and Pathlight. He lives in Hong Kong.