The Chilli Bean Paste Clan

by Yan Ge

A sympathetic and vividly intimate saga of the Duan-Xue family with their formidable 80 year old matriarch, incorrigibly coarse father, bawdy shenanigans, simmering sibling squabbles, ingrained misogyny and marital betrayals. The soap-opera style histrionics build up to a raucous gathering of the clan, where we look on like embarrassed guests as long-held secrets and rivalries erupt into a farcical climax. Warning: includes very strong language.


'Xue Shengqiang, you watch carefully. Hold the pole tight but relax your wrist, and move the pole from side to side. And remember something else, I'm only going to tell you once: you stir the beans the way you fuck a woman, you get me? ...
Chen rhythmically stirred the beans as if this was a witches brew: slow, slow, quicker, a couple of flicks of the wrist, slowing down again, until the sludge gave off liquid moans and exuded flaming red chilli oil. A strong musky odour rose into the air and Dad, as he stood staring in the fermentation yard, got an erection.
Needless to say, in the fullness of time, Dad became a pretty good stirrer. He reckoned he was pretty good at fucking women too.
Translated by Nicky Harman


The Family by Ba Jin

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