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In this beautifully written short novel, Chinese novelist and screenwriter Bi Feiyu gives a glimpse into the world of Peking opera and its female stars. Twenty years ago, the actress Xiao Yanqiu debuted brilliantly as the lead in The Moon Opera. In a fit of jealousy at sharing the spotlight, she disfigures her understudy with boiling water and wrecked her career. Now at 40, unhappily married and overweight, Xiao is offered the rare chance to reprise her role as Chang'e flying to the moon in a new production sponsored by a rich factory owner and former fan of hers. This time, Xiao, who assumes the role to perfection, chooses as her understudy her own gifted student, the pretty Chunlai. Set against the drama, intrigue, jealousy, retribution and redemption of backstage Peking opera, Bi takes a piercing look at this highly ritualized, tradition-bound art form und gives us a deep insight into a woman's heart.

Bi Feiyu, born 1964 in Jiangsu, one of China's younger literary stars, is author of several novels. He is the winner of the 2010 Man Asian Prize for Three Sisters, the 2011 Mao Dun Prize for Massage and has been awarded the Lu Xun Prize in 1995/96. Bi is often called China's best male writer on the female psyche, particularly as presented by the main character of the Moon Opera.

Please note: This is a book discussion – the author will not be present.