The Unbearable Dreamworld of Champa the Driver

Chan Koonchung (translated by Nicky Harman)


Chan Koonchung’s first novel, The Fat Years, a dystopian sci-fi thriller about a society enslaved by consumerism and suffering from wilful amnesia, was banned in China. In his latest novel, the author is once again testing boundaries.


The present-day tale follows the life of a young man from Lhasa. After taking a driving job for a Han businesswoman in Lhasa, Champa’s life begins to change. Cosmopolitan, car-loving and Mandarin-speaking, he embarks on an affair with his older, status- conscious employer. When he leaves for Beijing, the relationship unravels along with his boyish dreams, which crack under the weight of endemic racism. An illuminating window into society’s complex racial divides. Published by Transworld.