'Under The Hawthorn Tree', Author Unknown, Becomes Publishing Sensation
A good whodunnit? has always been popular in fiction, but the rarely does the mystery refer to the author rather than the story's characters.
Welcome to the world of internet blogging, where a novel about the Chinese Cultural Revolution has already sold more than a million copies in China, been bought by publishers across the globe and made into a film adaptation - before anyone knows who really wrote it.
Under The Hawthorn Tree was published under the pen name Ai Mi by an anonymous Chinese author living in America. The only further key to her identity is the book's apparent accuracy in describing China's socio-political movement between the years 1966-1967, which would put her in her fifties or sixties.
The novel - described by one publisher in the Guardian as being a love story 'almost like a Romeo and Juliet' - tells the story of a young woman who falls in love with general during the final decade of Mao Zedong's reign, when an attempt to force socialism onto the country crippled it economically and socially. Ai Mi claims it is based on a true story about her friend, with only names and other specific details changed.
Under The Hawthorn Tree was made into a film version in 2010 by House of Flying Daggers director Zhang Yimou, and was nominated twice in 2011 in the Asian Film Awards.