SOAS University of London

SOAS China Institute

A Perfect Crime

A Perfect Crime
A Yi 阿乙 (author) in conversation with Xiaoning Lu (SOAS)

Date: 13 May 2015Time: 2:00 PM

Finishes: 13 May 2015Time: 4:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G51

Type of Event: Book Launch

Through a conversation with Dr. Xiaoning Lu, Lecturer in Modern Chinese Culture and Language at SOAS, A Yi discusses his award-winning novel A Perfect Crime.  


On a normal day in provincial China, a bored high-school student goes about his regular business. But he’s planning the brutal murder of his only friend, a talented violinist. He invites her round, strangles her, stuffs her body into a washing machine and flees town. On the run, he is initially anxious, but soon he alerts the police to his whereabouts, surrenders to undercover agents in a pool bar, and sabotages all efforts by China’s judiciary system, a steady stream of psychologists and his family to overturn the death penalty, all without ever showing a shred of remorse.

A Perfect Crime is both a vision of China’s heart of darkness – the despair that traps the rural poor and the incoherent rage lurking behind their phlegmatic front – and a technically brilliant excursion into the claustrophobic realm of classic horror and suspense. With exceptional tonal control, A Yi steadily reveals the psychological backstory that enables us to make sense of the story’s dramatic violence and provides chillingly apt insights into the psychology behind a murder committed simply as an intellectual challenge to relieve the daily tedium of existence.


A Yi 阿乙 is a Chinese writer living in Beijing.  He worked as a police officer for five years before becoming the editor-in-chief of the literary magazine Chutzpah. He is the author of two short story collections Grey Stories and The Bird Saw Me and has published Guaren, a book of observations, blog posts and sketches. His novella A Perfect Crime, translated by Anna Holmwood, is the winner of the 2014 PEN Promotes award. In 2010 A Yi was shortlisted for the People's Literature Top 20 Literary Giants of the Future.  

Organiser: SOAS China Institute

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