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Under the Hawthorn Tree

Written by Ai Mi

Translated by Anna Holmwood

  • 368 Pages
  • 9781770890503
  • FICTION / Literary
  • FICTION / Romance / General



Publication Date January 14, 2012

A bestseller in China with more than 1 million copies sold and adapted for film by internationally acclaimed director Zhang Yimou, Under the Hawthorn Tree is a story of first love and forbidden love, set against the backdrop of the final days of the Cultural Revolution — now available in a new edition.

Yichang municipality, Hubei province, China, early 1970s. High-school student Jingqiu is one of many educated urban youth sent to the countryside to be "re-educated" under a dictate from Chairman Mao. Jing's father is a political prisoner somewhere in China, and her mother, a former teacher branded as a "capitalist," is now reduced to menial work to support Jing and her two younger siblings.

When Jing arrives with a group at Xiping village in the Yangtze River's Three Gorges region, she meets geology student Jianxin, nicknamed "Old Three," who is the son of a high-ranking military officer, but whose mother committed suicide after being branded a "rightist." Despite their disparate social backgrounds and a political atmosphere that forbids the relationship, Jingqiu and Jianxin fall desperately in love. But their budding romance is cut short by fate . . .

A sensitive and searing love story, Under the Hawthorn Tree is sure to become an instant classic.


Ai Mi
Ai Mi is a pseudonym. She lives in the United States, and grew up in China.

Anna Holmwood
Anna Holmwood is a translator and academic specializing in the study of classical and modern Chinese literature. She lives in England.


"In Under the Hawthorn Tree, the period is drawn with convincing detail, evoked to illuminate how political repression and strict social mores affect two characters engaged in one of China's favourite literary themes." Guardian

"... moving ..." Financial Times

"This is the stuff of Romeo and Juliet: romance and tragedy ... this book should be read." Globe and Mail

""...a great addition to the reading list and an excellent representative of modern Chinese literature."" Across the Litoverse