First published in China in 1947, Fortress Besieged is arguably the greatest Chinese novel of the twentieth century. Set on the eve of the Sino-Japanese War, our hapless hero Fang Hung-chien, with no particular goal in life and with a bogus degree from a fake university in hand, returns home to Shanghai. On the French liner back, he meets two Chinese beauties, Miss Su and Miss Pao. Qian writes, “With Miss Pao it wasn’t a matter of heart or soul. She hadn’t any change of heart, since she didn’t have a heart.” Fang eventually obtains a teaching post at a newly established university in the interior where the effete pseudo-intellectuals he encounters in academia become the butt of Qian’s merciless satire. Soon Fang falls into a marriage of Nabokovian proportions of distress and absurdity. A magnificent litany of misadventures, Fortress Besieged draws from traditions of both China and the West to create its own unique feast of delights.