Justin Hill

 

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Books

Passing Under Heaven

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A ghost who won't let go - Independent on Sunday

 

 

Passing Under Heaven

 

Winner of the 2005 Somerset Maugham Award
 

Shortlisted for the 2005 Encore Award

 

By the acclaimed author of The Drink and Dream Teahouse, Passing Under Heaven is both beautifully written and compulsively readable: a thousand-year-old story of love and loss brought vividly to life.

 


'Lyrical, fascinating, and often genuinely moving, definitely a novel to get lost in as the winter nights approach.' Evening Herald

'Passing Under Heaven is something to be stepped into as indulgently as a long, fragrant bath: time slows down; the language seeps in gradually, until you are immersed in China’s golden era…in this superbly reseached story Justin Hill reaches new heights.  Passing Under Heaven is unforgettable.'  Irish Examiner

 

On the edge of the Siberian grasslands that border imperial China, in the last years of the great Tang dynasty, the beautiful daughter of a warrior and his concubine is born into a dying world.

Lily's China is a place of pavilions and temples, lakes and snow-capped mountains, sages, scholars and poets. But it is also founded on ancient cruelty and injustice and subject to a wanton and capricious ruler. The fortunes of Lily, given up by her mother and orphaned before she is five years old, are bound tight to those of this vast, decaying empire.

As Lily struggles for her freedom from the antique rituals and intricate, brittle hierarchies of imperial society, she uses her gift for invention to transform herself, from wilful daughter to adored concubine, from notorious courtesan to great poetess. But as the barbarian hordes gather for invasion, the fate that has always awaited Lily draws near...

By the acclaimed author of The Drink and Dream Teahouse, Passing Under Heaven is both beautifully written and compulsively readable: a thousand-year-old story of love and loss brought vividly to life.

Observer - Too Beautiful to Live

Guardian - China Girl

Bibliofemme

Independent
'Passionately imagined'

The Sunday Telegraph
‘Beautifully written, sad and interesting’

Daily Mail
'Minister Li and Yu Xuanji's long-running and tortured love affair is beautifully handled.'

Observer
'Justin Hill has a keen eye for detail ... the novel is extraordinarily well crafted'

Kirkus
'Another beautifully rendered Chinese tale by Hill....the novel is notable for Hill's masterly craftsmanship and remarkably sympathetic sense of character. Skilled fiction of vibrant immediacy and majestic scope.'

 

 

 

 

 


 

Reviews of Passing Under Heaven:

'A novel about abandonment, reckless love and bravery.  Lyrical, fascinating, and often genuinely moving, definitely a novel to get lost in as the winter nights approach.'  Claire Kilroy, Evening Herald

 

 'Passing Under Heaven is something to be stepped into as indulgently as a long, fragrant bath: time slows down; the language seeps in gradually, until you are immersed in China’s golden era…in this superbly reseached story Justin Hill reaches new heights.  Passing Under Heaven is unforgettable.'   Afric Hamlton, Irish Examiner

 

'Superbly evoked…Minister Li and Yu Xuanji cannot live with or without each other…(Passing Under Heaven) is a beautifully handled reminder that some things remain constant.'   Elizabeth Buchan, Daily Mail

 

'Hill is an astute observer of human nature and a superb writer. As a young man, Hill spent three years as an aid worker in rural China, experience that has clearly not gone to waste' Asian Review of Books

 

'Despite the remoteness of the material, Hill manages to give a contemporary feel to the text and his translations of Yu's poems, which were preserved for their curiosity value, have a freshness that belies their age.

Justin Hill has a keen eye for detail and both when describing the humble and the elevated, his language, like Yu's, is elegantly understated and refreshing. A former voluntary aid worker in China and Eritrea, his knowledge of Chinese history, tradition and etiquette is intricate without becoming tedious and the novel is extraordinarily well crafted.'   Zoe Green, Observer

 

 'beautifully written, sad and interesting,'  Jessica Mann, Sunday Telegraph

 

'beautifully written and totally absorbing'   Historical Novels Review

 

'passionately imagined'   Independent 

 

'The freezing cold winters of Northern China, the magnificent pavilions and temples of the great cities, the curious gastronomic delights all come alive in the pages of this historical novel, set in the twilight years of the Tang Dynasty, over a thousand years ago…Passing Under Heaven captures a fleeting moment of Chinese History when women enjoyed a level of personal freedom that would not again be allowed until the end of the twentieth century,'   Books Ireland

 

 

 

The Drink and Dream Teahouse

 

 

 

Ciao Asmara

 

 

 

A Bend in the Yellow River