An unflinching and darkly funny novel that uncovers the pressures of life in modern China, where riches and sex abound but not for all.
'People from outside the city came to Chengdu with their hopes and their dreams, while I, a native son, lived out my nightmares to the sound of their footsteps. . .'
'As I walked around, there was no way to tell whether the men I saw were honest or whether the women were faithful. Betrayal and self-indulgence were the characteristics of the age. It was just as Bighead Wang said: Everyone plays the field.'
Three years after graduation, Chen Zhong works in a dead-end job as a sales manager for a motor oil company. He remains friends with two former classmates from his university days: Li Liang, who has quit his job and become rich gambling the stock market; and Big Head Wang, who is the head of the local police station.
All have put aside the lofty dreams of their youth in their scramble to strike it rich in the newly capitalist China: 'We lost our minds in the struggle to be first; lost our way because we were crazy for cash.' Despite their aspirations, the trio's lives are mired in drinking, drugs and whoring, and beset by boredom, disillusion and gambling debts.
Chen Zhong is married to Zhao Yue, whom he met when he saved her from being raped. Although he loves her, he treats her badly and plays around with other women. Cheng Zhong's bravado can't save him from his mounting problems: a large debt to his company, a pregnant mistress and a best mate who is sliding into drug addiction. But it isn't until Cheng Zhong suspects Zhao Yue of having an affair that he realizes exactly how much he stands to lose. And by then it is too late to stop what he's set in motion . . .
Leave Me Alone is a sensation in China, an unflinching, surprising, darkly funny look at the pressures of life in a modern Chinese city, where riches and sex abound . . . but not for all. And where some must pay the ultimate price for greed, self-indulgence and betrayal.
Murong, one of contemporary China's most famous authors, was born in 1974 in China's North East and spent his childhood in Jilin province. After graduating from Beijing's University of Political Science and Law he worked as a lawyer, and senior sales manager for a car company. He started to write in 2001. In 2002 when his novel Chengdu Please Forget Me Tonight took China by storm, Murong gave up his job and devoted himself to writing full time. He has published five novels in China. Leave Me Alone: A Novel of Chengdu is his first novel to be translated into English.