The Funeral Cryer

Wenyan Lu

An Yu’s Braised Pork meets Flaubert’s Madame Bovary in this unforgettable, tragi-comic tale of one woman’s mid-life re-awakening in contemporary rural China.

The Funeral Cryer long ago accepted the mundane realities of her life: avoided by fellow villagers because of the stigma attached to her job as a professional mourner and under-appreciated by The Husband, whose fecklessness has pushed the couple close to the brink of break-up.

But just when things couldn’t be bleaker, The Funeral Cryer takes a leap of faith – and in so doing things start to take a surprising turn for the better.

Dark, moving and wry, The Funeral Cryer is both an illuminating depiction of a ‘left behind’ society – and proof that it’s never too late to change your life.

Media Reviews

A more wry exploration of grief is Wenyan Lu’s The Funeral Cryer, about a professional mourner in rural China. Oscillating between tragedy and comedy, Wenyan’s novel is a refreshing perspective on mourning, as well as a moving tale of a social outcast. – Katie Goh, i-D Magazine

a fascinating glimpse into how [rural women’s] lives are still led. – Dorset Magazine

I adored The Funeral Cryer about a professional mourner. The prose is elegant and restrained, yet still manages to convey the protagonist’s anger that simmers between the pages like a dormant volcano. Highly recommend this stunning debut. – Stacey Thomas, Stacey Thomas, author of THE REVELS

Wonderful. A deft, humorous exploration of female desire and a forgotten society with a protagonist to love and root for. – Irenosen Okojie, award-winning author of BUTTERFLY FISH, Irenosen Okojie

This thought-provoking story will stay with me a long time […] spectacular. – Diane Billas, author of DOES LOVE ALWAYS WIN?, GoodReads

In haunting, elegiac prose, Wenyan Lu paints a world and profession that few of us are aware of in contemporary, rural China. How a professional mourner, a manipulator of emotions, wrestles with her own midlife crisis is at turns both tragic and comic, and has wide resonance beyond its rural setting. – Yvonne Singh, Journalist, Editor, Judge SI Leeds 2020

It is an exquisite, wholesome and insightful read about a China which many of us might never otherwise have a chance to visit. A jolly good book. – Chikodili Emelumadu, Chikodili Emelumadu, author of DAZZLING

A wonderful story; so moving. A beautifully written, memorable novel. – Kadija George, Kadija George

A fascinating exploration of another culture. The eponymous character shows us about life in rural China with a unique voice that can be both wry and heartbreaking. Through her interactions with the other villagers we get a glimpse of what life is like away from the big city. – M. J. Hollows, M. J. Hollows

…a captivating tale […] China-born Lu adeptly weaves the age-old themes of filial piety and loyalty into the fabric of the story, highlighting the clash between tradition and modernity in her remote village setting. – Gabrielle Chan, Strait Times (Singapore)

A fascinating insight into domestic rural life in China today. Lu’s choice of heroine is perfect: the funeral cryer is shunned and scorned by the very people who require her services, her resultant marginal and ambiguous social position giving her a unique window on the world around her. Her questions about her own life echo wider concerns about the persistence of traditional culture in modern China, as she negotiates being a good mother, a good daughter and a good wife in a bad marriage. – Sarah Burton, author of THE STRANGE ADVENTURES OF H

Enlightening […] a moving story, which sheds light on what life is like in modern rural China, the mixing of modern and traditional customs, and the bonds of love, responsibility and loyalty that underpin everyday lives. – NZ Booklovers

The title character’s wry, sad, and insightful inner voice is the star here. Her meditations on grief, death, love, and duty are full of poetry and longing. Perfect for literary-fiction fans, especially those who enjoyed other extraordinary novels about ordinary people, such as Lydia Millet’s Dinosaurs and Zorrie by Laird Hunt. – Kirkus Reviews, starred review