Broken Wings is uncompromising and brief. It is told from the point-of-view of Butterfly, a young woman who is kidnapped while working with her parents in the city. She is transported to rural Shaanxi and sold as a bride to an impoverished villager, who imprisons her in a cave. Her captor rapes her and she bears his child. The police eventually locate Butterfly and save her from the village, but she is forced to leave her child behind. Not long after, she makes the decision to return to the countryside, though much is left unclear—for both Butterfly and the reader.
When People’s Literature Publishing House put out Broken Wings ... he found himself caught in the middle of a literary controversy.
Please read: Broken Wings: Jia Pingwa's Controversial Novel Explores Human Trafficking And Rural China at SupChina.
You can also read: an earlier collection of notes on Broken Wings, some of which I drew from for the SupChina piece, Jia Pingwa fever and The Earthen Gate at Paper Republic, which covers the avalanche of Jia Pingwa novels in translation, and this entry recounting a trip to Jia's hometown earlier in the year.
I've written and thought about Jia Pingwa and recent translations of his novels quite a bit over the past year. I'm preparing a translation of Qinqiang《秦腔》with Nicky Harman, which should be out late this year or early the next, and traveled out to Xi'an to visit the author. I've got a few more pieces planned, which should appear somewhere soon, and I'm about to take another trip out to Xi'an at the end of the month.