Passing Under Heaven

Winner of the 2005 Somerset Maugham Award

Shortlisted for the 2005 Encore Award

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

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.’

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