Jia Pingwa on the origin of his novel – translated by Nicky Harman
One afternoon three years ago, I was at home reading Journey to the West and thinking that the monk Xuanzang and his three disciples were really four different sides of the same person, when suddenly there was a loud rapping at the door. These days, when everyone has telephones, it is rare for a visitor to turn up unannounced. I wondered who it was. I was not expecting anyone. I deliberately waited a while before opening the door, to indicate my displeasure at this uninvited guest. Knock, knock, knock, the noise came again, getting louder with each rap. Finally, there was a thud as someone kicked the door. Indignant, I flung the door open.