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Stories of the Sahara Paperback – 9 July 2020

4.6 out of 5 stars 45 ratings

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Product details

  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 416 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1408881845
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1408881842
  • Customer reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 45 ratings

Product description


A role model far ahead of her time . . . Now, mainland-born and Taiwanese-raised Sanmao is taking her rightful place in the pantheon of female travel writers with the English-language publication of Stories of the Sahara . . . Her confessional style, which can be painfully honest but is always self-aware and shot through with humour, fits perfectly in the age of #MeToo, despite the book being written five decades earlier . . . Her candidness about her marriage and life, along with her love of challenging convention, explains why Sanmao has been a heroine for Chinese women . . . Sanmao deserves all the praise, even if it has been a long time coming -- David Eimer ― South China Morning Post

Reading their stories on this rain-swept island, far from either Taiwan or the Sahara, what seduced me most was the combination of Sanmao’s voice and her indomitable spirit – a spirit that manages to reconcile her dream to be "the first female explorer to cross the Sahara" with the reality of the grinding hardship of settled life in a wasteland ― Spectator

Stories of the Sahara has endured for generations of young Taiwanese and Chinese women yearning for independence from conservative social norms … Her prose, which oscillates between memoir and fiction, has a laconic elegance that echoes the Beat poets. It can also be breezy, a remarkable quality at a time when her homeland, Taiwan, was under martial law ― New York Times

A hypnotic meditation on love and loneliness in a foreign place. Writing with frankness and vulnerability, Sanmao’s constant questioning of her insecurities and flaws is remarkably human, and nothing remains beyond the boundaries of her probing eye . . . Mike Fu’s gorgeous translation brings to live Sanmao’s evocative descriptions of the Sahrawi communities in which she lives, along with her wit and her gift for capturing life’s absurdities. Stories of the Sahara is a record of one person’s fierce refusal to follow a path laid down for her by the rest of the world, but it is also a celebration of the complexities of being an outsider, and ultimately, an ode to freedom -- Tash Aw ― Paris Review Books of the Year

Ground-breaking . . . Sanmao wrote breezily but she captured the complexities of ‘learning the art of living here’ . . . A compelling tale of someone who was enraptured but uneasy, and Sanmao’s pluck is admirable -- Geographical

Ground-breaking . . . Coloured by Sanmao's memories, this travelogue takes us from eye-opening experiences in desert bathhouses to divine rainstorms, while reminding us that adventures into the unknown are key ― Wanderlust

Riveting reissue aged like a good wine . . . A valuable record ― Irish Times

An enduring cultural icon and figure of quixotic fascination . . . Every story conveys Sanmao's infectious capacity for wonder -- Sharlene Teo, author of 'Ponti'

About the Author

Sanmao, born Chen Ping, was a novelist, writer and translator. Born in China, she grew up in Taiwan. After a stint in Europe, she moved to the Sahara desert with her Spanish husband, a scuba diver and underwater engineer. She committed suicide in 1991.

Mike Fu is a Brooklyn-based writer, translator, and editor. Along with colleagues in Asia and Europe, he coedits The Shanghai Literary Review, a biannual English language publication of original artwork, writing, and translation. He received his MA in East Asian languages and cultures from Columbia University and MFA in creative writing and literary translation from Queens College, City University of New York. He is assistant dean for global initiatives at Parsons School of Design.

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