Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Seventh Day” as Want to Read:
The Seventh Day
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Seventh Day

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  1,671 ratings  ·  236 reviews
From the acclaimed author of Brothers and To Live: a major new novel that limns the joys and sorrows of life in contemporary China.
Yang Fei was born on a moving train. Lost by his mother, adopted by a young switchman, raised with simplicity and love, he is utterly unprepared for the tempestuous changes that await him and his country. As a young man, he searches for a pl
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published January 13th 2015 by Pantheon (first published June 2013)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Seventh Day, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Seventh Day

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,671 ratings  ·  236 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Seventh Day
Spencer Orey
Dec 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 02, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

Following the dialectics of his courageous and hugely successful book China in Ten Words historically documenting the country's ungraceful leap out of the Cultural Revolution and the standoff that ended in bloodshed in the Tiananmen Square Massacre - Yu Hua resurrects his critical perspectives on China's rapid economic growth, society's suicide by over-consumerism and the country's uncontrolled catapult into modernization micromanaged by corrupt government officials in The Seventh Day:
Jun 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
I am in love
and I am going to
stalk him
until I have read
every word
he has
Jan 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What an unusual book. It’s told by Yang Fei, a 41-year-old Chinese man who has just died. The book covers the first seven days of his experiences in the afterlife, which isn’t perhaps how you or I might imagine it, but isn’t ridiculously fantastic either.

In the course of these seven days Yang Fei meets various deceased people he’s known, and hears about the events that led up to their deaths. He also hears about some people connected to the recently deceased, people who are still alive. You cou
Mar 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Often when I finish reading a novel, I throw the book down on the table/chair/floor in happy, manic exasperation, fired up and eager to do, to act. Sometimes, I can think of the future and leave satisfied. I can't say I felt that way when I finished The Seventh Day, but I loved it nonetheless.

I had previously read China in Ten Days, Yu Hua's nonfiction collection about his days growing up during the Chinese collective era, but I wasn't expecting a wonderful novel about death and satisfaction fro
Jessica Woodbury
A mixture of surreal fantasy and absurd real-life. At first I found myself so disoriented that I wasn't sure I'd keep going, but I just kept getting sucked in even though I wasn't sure what was happening.

It's best not to give you too many details, but the book follows all kinds of stories of death and meaning and the afterlife, a truly unique novel.
Catarina Abelha
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I think I've just found a new favourite. This novel was insightful, witty, funny and powerful. So happy I came across this book. Will be reading Hua's previous work.
Jan 09, 2015 rated it did not like it
Wanted to preface by saying Yu Hua's To Live and Brothers are among my all-time favorites. They brought many characters to life in their rawest forms. As such, 10 years since Brothers was published, I had a certain expectation of Yu Hua's hyped-up new work. As it is short, I expected it to come with a punch. Instead, it came with a whimper.
Characters were pale, emotional penetration was lacking, social problems were piled on one after another and to what effect? We all know about them by readin
Ecem Yücel
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really, really loved this one. It has beautiful stories inside the very original main story. It's a mix of pain, sadness and love and happiness, with very real characters in a surreal world. It is a beautiful, beautiful book, definitely a must-read.
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: asian-lit, china
Only my second book by the author, but what I notice is his wonderful way of weaving things together seamlessly. I enjoyed this metaphorical novel that's full of political commentary, and should be on my way to preparing myself for his opus, "To Live."
Dec 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Seventh Day is the fifth novel by acclaimed Chinese novelist and essayist, Yu Hua. At forty-one, Yang Fei dies in an Eatery explosion, but, having no burial plot, and no-one to buy one for him, he eventually finds himself wandering in a sort of Limbo, the Land of the Unburied. He wears a black armband: he mourns his own death as there is no-one else to do so. As he drifts around the afterlife, he encounters people who look familiar but do not sound like those he knew in life, people now also ...more
An interesting and very unusual book covering the first seven days of "life" of Yang Fei as he finds himself with the others who are in the Land of the Unburied. He is reunited with old friends and family members. And in a land where all are equal, he finds happiness.
The book also covers many of China's problems such as forced abortions, corruption, Government cover-ups, selling body parts, lack of social security.
Hafizz Nasri
Dec 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
A reminiscing flashback plot, a wandering along the paths of memory. A subtle after death stories with various subplot of culture and daily struggle of people, some bureaucracy and social injustice issues, a story of survival, love, family and relationship, a raw life of bliss and sadness, a bit of magical realism, something surreal and madness, very fascinating.

I love how the writer tells the story accordingly to each days to each chapters. Beautifully written prose, heart-wrenching with emoti
I got this as an advanced reader's copy from the danish publisher, Klim. It'll be published in Denmark on the 1st of august this year.

The Seventh Day is the story of Yang Fei, who wakes up in the afterlife shortly after his death. Here he first goes to the afterlife crematorium, but as he has no gravesite planned for him in the world of the living there would be no place for him to go to rest if he was cremated. So he leaves and ends up wandering the afterlife.

Yu Hua's version of the life afte
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
One of my best decisions in my life as reader - to buy a book written by the author I have never heard about before. I have never ever chosen a book without reading the reviews, critics, without recommandations of my friends, colleagues or family first.
I didnt know anything about it, so I was stunned when I began to read. Beautiful, original, very interesting ( critique of society and system), you cannot stop reading.
Mar 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Through his after death journey, the protagonist gave us a brief glimpse on some of today’s China social issues, such as social stratification, media censorship, poverty etc. The plot was short and to the point. The reason it’s worth 3-stars imo is that it doesn’t give me a satisfying feeling after finished it, like the author’s previous books (To Live and Brothers)has made me feel. 🤷🏻‍♀️
David Solomon
Apr 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
an entertaining and insightful look into chinese culture and society with plenty of commentary on materialism and conformity. told thru the lens of a dead man navigating an afterlife just as strange, scary and beautiful as the world he just left!!
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
It has become such a trope that it's a literary rule: Never start your novel with a protagonist that discovers he's already dead. Yet Yu Hua does just that, and then proceeds to craft a deeply poetic story that illustrates the beauty of love and our relationships to each other.

Yang Fei has died, predeceased by his father. Uncertain as to whether he should move on to the next phase by being cremated, he begins a search for his father and finds new (and old) friends along the way. It's the classi
Emre Ergin
too many parallel stories that does not form a higher structure, and the entanglement mostly is destructive when it comes to rank different stories according to their importance. Many plot details are overshadowed by a constant stream of information, and the actual plot line is invisible until many layers of side stories. Side stories are one sided, full of cliches, and really shallow government criticism.
Bob Pearson
Jan 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Just as I finished this novel about the cost in human lives and misery that is part and parcel of China's economy and current culture, the Tianjin Port City explosions of August 13, 2015 occurred. A signature moment of that tragedy may have involved the sudden and massive explosion of large quantities of sodium doused with water by Chinese firemen, who had not been told of the presence of the chemical. Hua's book captures with his own examples exactly those realities. However, Hua's book is more ...more
Dec 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-fiction
This book is for readers of literary fiction. The novel takes place in a Buddhist afterlife where people are waiting to be buried. The novel is about these people's lives. It reminded me a little of the book The Lovely Bones and the play Our Town where the ghosts of the dead observe and comment on the living.

The satire of the book did not come through to me. It may have been a problem of the translation. However, some of the stories of the people I found moving though these stories are of uneven
Feb 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-loans, 2015
It was quite interesting to read The Seventh Day immediately after finishing Julian Barnes’ treatise on grief in Levels of Life. Yu Hua covers somewhat similar philosophical ground, albeit in the form of a novel.

At the start of the book, Yang Fei has died and visits the funeral parlour of the after-life. As an orphan, he has nobody to mourn him or pay for his burial, so his fate is to wander the spirit world. As he does so, he encounters people from his past, and learns more about his death, wha
May 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Reading this book felt like sleep walking or being in a state of enhancement. There were no sharp edges and everything was blurred to the point of perfect relaxation.

One of the most unique books I have read in years, The Seventh Day is about Yang Fei who wanders the earth for seven days after his unexpected death because he lacks the money needed for a burial plot. During these seven days he encounters the souls of the people who were in someway dear to him during his life. These souls are an ex
Marilyn Shea
Jun 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Has anyone already said that Yu Hua is the Chinese Kafka? The tale is strange and intriguing at the beginning, and I realized that the main character was dead before he knew it. From there, it was filled with bureaucratic nonsense. The dead all seemed trapped in the afterlife, unable to rest because they didn't have the right credentials, clothing or burial plots and they spend a depressing amount of time trying to explain themselves to others. So of the seven days, I enjoyed maybe the first one ...more
Ankush Samant
Apr 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Oh! What a brilliant read!

A man stuck in between the dead and the departed. And a string of beautiful tales woven around those 7 days of wandering!
Jun 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, lyrical, and dreamlike. After his death, the main character travels through the memories of his life, encountering other wandering spirits whose tales intersect with his own. The language is simple and clear, the descriptions breathtaking. The novel weaves together heartbreak and tender moments, misunderstandings and connections, pain and grace, the things that never change and the complications of modern life.
Andrew Pople
Jan 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'The Seventh Day' is a stunning vision of the afterlife and perhaps a less than flattering reflection of the world before.
I'm not certain a review can encapsulate such scope; just read it...

Check out my full review on 'Between the Covers'
Terry Earley
Jan 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
It is said that fiction is a better window into culture than non fiction. In this case, that is true. In a unique story told from both sides of life and death, we see what it is like to live simply in a large city.

Interesting characters in an interesting story.
Sean Meriwether
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
In Yu Hua’s novel death is not an equalizer. The wealthy and politically connected are treated better even in the afterlife, with elaborate funeral preparations and outrageously priced real estate (with panoramic views) for their final resting place. The disenfranchised remained cursed to spend eternity in limbo, especially those with no family or money for even basic funeral services. There is an undercurrent of irony as desperate families go into debt to pay for funeral arrangements (one chara ...more
Mar 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'm not sure what attracted me to this in the first place, put I got a copy of it when the translation first came out in English. I had it my parents' and picked it up in the early winter. I've been seriously reading it the last week or so of the corona virus "social distancing."
A long man (Yang Fei) dies and finds himself in a sort of purgatory. He has no family or friends to buy him a burial plot into which he can enter eternal rest. Yang Fei begins to go over his life in detail, we learn of h
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Dengang dinosaurerne var små
  • Il censimento dei radical chic
  • Penge på lommen
  • Frog
  • The Halfway House
  • Camanchaca
  • Night Bus
  • Wang in Love and Bondage: Three Novellas by Wang Xiaobo
  • 彷徨 (Chinese Edition)
  • Documenti, prego
  • Cromorama: Come il colore ha cambiato il nostro sguardo
  • Pro Bono
  • Km 123
  • Red Sorghum
  • Questa è l'America. Storie per capire il presente degli Stati Uniti e il nostro futuro
  • A Perfect Crime
  • The Bus Driver Who Wanted to be God & Other Stories
  • Çıplak ve Yalnız
See similar books…
Yu Hua (simplified Chinese: 余华; traditional Chinese: 余華; pinyin: Yú Huá) is a Chinese author, born April 3, 1960 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. He practiced dentistry for five years and later turned to fiction writing in 1983 because he didn't like "looking into people’s mouths the whole day." Writing allowed him to be more creative and flexible.[citation needed] He grew up during the Cultural Re ...more

Articles featuring this book

The bestselling Chinese author talks about growing up during the Cultural Revolution, writing about the absurdities of Communism, and his new novel...
27 likes · 10 comments
“With relief I arrived at memory's peak,
and a broader landscape came into view.”
“... because my memory had caught up with the world that had gone away.” 0 likes
More quotes…