Xi Juan and the Chinese Romance Novel

Xi JuanMost people associate Chinese literature with the sweeping landscapes of the classic novels, like Journey to the West and Romance of the Three Kingdoms. However, in modern China, another type of book rules the sales racks: romance novels.

Born in 1972 in Taiwan, Xi Juan (席绢) is one of the most prolific and popular writers in modern China. Although her works may not end up in any Chinese literature curricula, she continues to be one of the most influential Chinese writers of her time.

Xi Juan’s works are classic romance novels. Often centering on a threesome – usually a girl and two guys – Xi Juan’s writing practically invented the formulaic styles that flood the shelves of romance books in China today. Most of Xi Juan’s novels – of which there are dozens – incorporate some type of mix up that creates a type of humor not terribly unlike the Western version of a romantic comedy. It is because of this lighthearted tone that Xi Juan’s works are often referred to in Chinese as “ice cream” lit. Read the rest of this entry »