Souls Left Behind: A WW1 Chinese Labour Corps Novel

Fan Wu

Translated by Honey Watson

Sinoist Books



ISBN: 9781838905972


Publication date: 31 May 2024



I’m no longer Zhang Delun. I am 58909. We were the Chinese Labour Corps, all 140,000 of us. Sailing eastwards in the final years of the Great War, youth bound to toil behind the trenches of France. Too many of us will never see home again. Anne Zhang’s father is missing, the feast for his 85th birthday is going cold. Pride, desperation or hope? Meaningless amid the horror. Somehow I survived, and with Marguerite’s help found roots in this foreign land. Never one to share a burden, the years since mother’s passing have only claimed the few who remember a painful past. The battlefields have long since scabbed over with cornflowers. My comrades stare back at me as gravestones. I tend to them, lest they be reduced to forgotten characters of a language that no local understands. No one told Anne of their stories, nor does she have time to listen. When I’m gone, who will speak for us?