By Dai Sijie
A rapturous and uproarious collision of East and West, a novel about the dream of love and the love of dreams. Fresh from eleven years in Paris studying Freud, bookish Mr. Muo returns to China to spread the gospel psychoanalysis. His secret purpose is to free his college sweetheart from prison. To do so he has to get on the food side of the bloodthirsty Judge Di, and to accomplish that he must provide the judge with a virgin maiden.
This may prove difficult in a China that has embraced Western sexual mores along with capitalism — since Muo, while indisputably a romantic, is no ladies’ man. Tender, laugh-out-loud funny, and unexpectedly wise. Mr. Muo’s Travelling Couch introduces a hero as endearingly inept as Inspector Clouseau and as valiant as Don Quixote.