Sun Ganlu was born in Shanghai and grew up in the city. Sun Ganlu first drew critical attention with his short story, ‘A Visit to Dreamworld’ (Fangwen mengjing, 1986). A key representative of avant-garde/experimental literature, Sun’s mid 1980s experimentation pushed the limits of fiction, which he wrote as a series of poetic lines unconnected by narrative progression. Sun Ganlu wrote his first novel, Breathing (Huxi), during his second creative stage from 1989 to 1991. History, memory and gender are prominent themes in this work. Sun’s works since the mid 1990s invoke Shanghai’s clan history and cultural heritage. Sun depicts Shanghai allegorically as the traditional city gives way to the pressures of global capitalism.