It’s the story of a peasant hero who, thanks to the People’s Liberation Army, reclaimed China’s national story from the privileged and educated classes. A cultural commissar’s dream come true. Except that many of Yan Lianke’s novels are banned in China. His surrealism and satire, his talent for the absurd and his preference for unblinking examination of the flaws and absurdities of the Party and the serial tragedies they have inflicted on rural life, don’t make for what the Party judges great socialist literature. They do, though, make him one of China’s most loved writers.