Ghost Cities - inspired by the vacant, uninhabited megacities of China - follows multiple narratives, including one in which a young man named Xiang is fired from his job as a translator at Sydney's Chinese Consulate after it is discovered he doesn't speak a word of Chinese and has been relying entirely on Google Translate for his work.
How is his relocation to one such ghost city connected to a parallel odyssey in which an ancient Emperor creates a thousand doubles of Himself? Or where a horny mountain gains sentience? Where a chess-playing automaton hides a deadly secret? Or a tale in which every book in the known Empire is destroyed - then recreated, page by page and book by book - all in the name of love and art?
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Recommended as one of The Guardian's books to look forward to in 2024
An instant Australian classic that stands both on the shoulders of giants and yet is somehow completely and delightfully new. Lashings of myth, absurdity, humour and pathos come together in this paean to art in all its forms.
I want to crumple this novel into a ball and swallow it, whole.
Hayley Scrivenor, author of Dirt Town
Ghost Cities is a labyrinth of a novel that delights, terrifies, thrills and amuses in the very best of ways. An inventive and philosophical exploration of power, automation, art and love where nothing is as it seems; a decadent feast fashioned from tofu, a lush orchard carved from stone.
Siang Lu’s brain at play is a thing of wonder.
Kate Mildenhall, author of The Hummingbird Effect
Siang Lu's Ghost Cities is so amazing I invented time travel just so I could go into the future and read it.
Albert Einstein, 2024
Hoppla, I time travelled too far...
Argh, my face!