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A Novel

  • Read by: Angela Lin
  • Runtime: 15.5 Hours
  • Recording: Unabridged
  • Release date: 1.10.2017
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio
  • Genre: Fiction/Literary
  • 15.52 hrs1/10/2017Unabridged
  • ISBN-13: 9781504773188
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30 day rental Learn more

A Library Journal Audio-in-Advance Pick for January 2017

Inspired by the secret life of the author’s grandmother, Lotus follows a young woman torn between past traditions and modern desires as she carves out a life for herself in China’s “City of Sins.”

Reserved, at times defiant, Lotus is different from the other streetwalkers. Her striking eyes glow under Shenzhen’s neon lights, capturing the attention of Funny Eye, Family Treasure, and a slew of other demanding clients determined to make Lotus their property. Choosing between wealthy, powerful, and dangerous men is no easy feat, but it is a surprising offer from Binbing, a soft-spoken and humble photojournalist, that presents the biggest challenge. Is Lotus willing to fall in love? Is she capable of it?

Inspired by the deathbed revelation that the author’s grandmother had been sold to a brothel in her youth, Lotus offers compelling insight into China’s bustling underground world and reveals the surprising strength found in those confronted with impossible choices. Written with compassion and vivid prose, and packed with characters you won’t soon forget, Lijia Zhang’s Lotus examines what it means to be an individual in a society that praises restraint in and obedience from its women.

Editorial Reviews

“A deep dive into China’s spiritual crisis, and how people are looking for answers in religion and through acts of kindness and courage in their daily lives.”

Ian Johnson, Pulitzer Prize–winning author

“You will cry and in the end, laugh in celebration not just of the winning characters, but of Zhang’s true gift as an essential novelist of this world.”

Da Chen, New York Times bestselling author

“[A] compelling debut novel…the political and economic realities of modern China lend the novel greater depth, a heady mix that might be called rom-communism…We can count ourselves lucky to get this glimpse into the fascinating world of Lotus.”


Lotus is a rollicking, sexy novel, but it’s not just another fun read. The novel provides so much insight into the underside of China’s roaring economy and the immense pressure on young migrants to get rich quick. In Lijia Zhang’s tour of the sex industry, you’ll find not only sleaze, but soul.”

Barbara Demick, National Book Award finalist

“Zhang returns to the landscape of a rapidly changing China in this debut novel…Compelling.”

Publishers Weekly

“Easy to read and containing fully drawn characters and story lines, Zhang’s first foray into fiction does not disappoint.”

Library Journal

“At once immersive and delicate, Zhang’s writing takes Lotus to unexpected places as she searches for—and perhaps finds—what true freedom means.”


“Wonderfully readable and perceptive…Although it pulls no punches it is saturated with the spirit of stoic optimism that sustains millions of rural migrants around the world.”

Amitav Ghosh, Man Booker Prize finalist

Lotus reflects an authentic China…The characters and images in the book are of literary creation, but her dissection of contemporary Chinese society is impressively precise.”

Yan Lianke, author of Serve the People

Author Biography

Lijia Zhang, a former rocket factory worker, is a writer based in Beijing. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times and Newsweek, and she has been interviewed on CNN, NPR, and the BBC. Her book “Socialism Is Great!”: A Worker’s Memoir of the New China has been published in eight countries. She earned a master’s degree from Goldsmiths, University of London, and a fellowship in the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa.

Reader Biography

Angela Lin graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a BFA in drama. A critically acclaimed actress, her credits include The Good Wife, Law & Order: SVU, and As the World Turns, among others.

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