A Chinese novel described in the South China Morning Post as “1984 with a sense of humor” has recently been purchased by Nan Talese at Knopf US, Editions Grasset in France, and by Norway’s Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, reports Marysia Juszczakiewicz, founder of the Peony Literary Agency.

The Fat Years (盛世中国 2013 ) by Chan Koon Chung (陈冠中) follows a writer, obsessed with detective stories, on a quest to uncover the events of a month mysteriously absent from official Chinese records. The novel is much talked about for its “veiled criticism of the growing number of Chinese who have bought into the system or have been bought by it,” writes Paul Mooney in the Hong Kong daily.

It was announced in February that Doubleday would publish the novel in English in 2011, and since then the rights have also been purchased for German (Eichborn), Spanish (Destini), Italian (Longanesi), Dutch (Signatur), Catallan (Ediciones la Campana), and Hebrew (Modan).