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Illustration by: Xi Dahe

Countryside Police Station: An Unsolved Case | Short Story

Novelist A Yi’s satirical take on how county police “solved” a case of theft at a local chemical plant

Thirteen years on, that case at the Aocheng Chemical Plant still bothers me, poking and prodding somewhere deep down inside of me, like a riddle that I’ll never figure out. It was during a bright midday at the plant. The workers carried their lunch boxes out to the edge of the fissured concrete lot. They talked amongst themselves: Everything was fine last night, and today, it’s gone. When Sergeant Zhao Dezhong arrived from Aocheng Police Station with two cadets in tow—Xiao Li and I—we saw a heavy-duty cart sitting on the ground, with its two wheels missing. It felt incredibly unjust, like seeing a disabled man whose prosthetic limbs had been swiped from him.

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author A Yi (阿乙)

A Yi is an emerging Chinese writer with three books translated and published in English so far, including his latest work “Two Lives: Tales of Life, Love and Crime” and “A Perfect Crime,” which have gained recognition domestically and internationally. Growing up in a small town in Jiangxi province, A Yi worked briefly as a police officer in his hometown before becoming a sports editor. His literary journey began in 2008 with the publication of his short story collection titled “The Grey Story.” Since then, he has authored over a dozen novels and short story collections in Chinese. A recurring theme in A Yi’s work is the portrayal of lonely small-town life, exploring its darker aspects and delving into the minds of criminals, drawing inspiration from his experiences as a former police officer.

Translated By
author Dylan Levi King

Dylan Levi King is a writer and translator. His most recent translations are Cai Chongda’s “Vessel” (HarperCollins) and Jia Pingwa’s “The Shaanxi Opera” (AmazonCrossing).

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