* A fabulous epic novel about the extraordinary (true) life of China's greatest woman poet.* Beautifully-written and compulsively readable: a thousand-year-old story of love and loss brought vividly to life.
In the last years of the Tang Dynasty, a beautiful girl is born in a fort along the Great Wall of China, and is set to become the most famous and celebrated courtesan of her age. Set in the 9th century, Passing Under Heaven tells the tragic love story of Lily, a Chinese poet and documents a time when Chinese women enjoyed a window of unprecedented personal freedom - including the freedom to fall in love. But when Lily pushes that freedom to its limits disaster ensues, leaving her child and husband to forever mourn her loss.
Based on historical fact, Passing Under Heaven is more than the story of the end of a love affair, this book also chronicles the passing of the Chinese golden age into civil war and ruin.
Passionately imagined - INDEPENDENT
Superbly evoked are the luxury and refinement that co-exist with cold cruelty and a fatalism that to us is puzzling. Minister Lee and Yu Xuanju cannot live with or without each other, and their long-running and tortured love affair is a beautifully handl - DAILY MAIL
A great and passionate storyteller - INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY
Rich in atmosphere, lavishly described...captivating... Hill is not afraid to humanise Lily, to show her engaged in great acts of cruelty, but he does so without losing the reader's sympathy. That her life will end tragically is never in doubt, but the exact - EVENING HERALD
Justin Hill was born in the Bahamas, and grew up in York, attending St Peter's School. He studied Old England and Medieval Literature at Durham University, and spent most of his twenties on postings with Voluntary Service Overseas in rural China and East Africa.
He has written poetry, non-fiction and fiction, which spans eras as distant from one another as Anglo Saxon England, in Shieldwall, to Tang Dynasty, China, in Passing Under Heaven. His work has won numerous awards, including the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award, a Betty Trask Award, as well as being selected as a Sunday Times Book of the Year (Shieldwall) and a Washington Post Books of the Year (The Drink and Dream Teahouse).
In 2014 he was selected to write the sequel to the Oscar winning film, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.
He lives near York.