Binu and the Great Wall

The Myth of Meng

BY Su Tong
Publisher: Knopf Canada
Knopf Canada welcomes one of China’s most acclaimed and bestselling writers–author of Raise the Red Lantern–to the list with a fascinating retelling of a magical story–already an international bestseller in China and Europe.

Through Binu’s extraordinary story, Su Tong illuminates one of China’s most magical myths. In Peach village, crying is forbidden. But as a child, Binu never learnt to hide her tears. Shunned by the villagers, she faces a bleak future until she meets the man she will marry, Qiliang.

A few years after their marriage, Qiliang disappears. Binu learns that he has been transported hundreds of miles and forced to labour on a project of terrifying ambition and scale–the building of the Great Wall. Inspired by her love for her husband, Binu sets out on an extraordinary journey across Great Swallow Mountain, with only a blind frog for company. What follows is an unforgettable story of passion, hardship and magical adventure.

From the Hardcover edition.



The tale of Binu wailing at the Great Wall has been passed down through generations for two millennia in China; a story that has been told again and again by ordinary people. Mine is only the latest retelling, but blessed with the added good fortune of finding its way beyond China’s borders.
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“Su Tong has written a wonderfully magical and human story. In spite of the fact that Binu and the Great Wall is a tale replete with sorrow, it is an uplifting affirmation of the strength of the human spirit.” –

“This is a gripping, insightful depiction of the lives of commoners under the Qing Dynasty. Ultimately, Tong’s myth allows good to triumph over evil – particularly with the collapse of the Great Wall, a metaphor for ruling class oppression. It’s a tragic tale of female strength and ultimately, love.” –Time Out

“The tale might have been passed down the generations in China, but to a European reader it has all the excitement and allure of a fresh discovery. . . . Tong’s retelling of this ancient myth can be read as symbolic of a country scarred by the Mao era, and sets a high benchmark for future volumes in the Myths series.” –The Daily Telegraph (UK)

“A wonderful read – with all of a fairy tale’s leaps and turns and queer, vivid images. . . . The book is rich as a piece of brocade, by turns violent and forgiving, harsh and tender. A masterful retelling of an ancient fairy story.” –The Observer

“A straight retelling of an idiosyncratic journey. . . . The Chinese language is . . . a visual art, and the painterly quality of Tong’s words is striking . . . Little surprise that Tong’s Raise the Red Lantern became such a visually exciting film, and that this new myth-picture splashes in the memory.” –The Times (UK)

From the Hardcover edition.