AN OXFORD author has written a novel about a Chinese family affected by the Beijing Olympics.

Elisabeth Hallett lived in China for many years, including in Beijing, working as a teacher and an editor.

Now her first novel, Mouse-Wolf, has been published by Anglepoise Books, an imprint of Oxford publisher Oxfordfolio.

Ms Hallett is delighted the novel has now been published in the UK but fears it may never be published in China because its content would be considered controversial.

She said: “The cover features the Chinese word ‘chai’ meaning demolish - there’s a lot of sensitivity surrounding that.”

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Mother-of-one Ms Hallett’s novel tells the tale of Xiao Mei, whose home is threatened by construction plans for the 2008 Olympic Games.

Oxford Mail:

She added: "The years leading up to the Olympics were noisy and disruptive.

"Great earth-moving machines rumbled down the road, demolition vehicles rammed their claws against old walls, small wiry men scrabbled in the rubble, retrieving anything of value.

"Huge cranes towered over cavernous holes that were the foundations of new buildings. It was always dusty.

"One day, the machines moved in down the road to demolish the old, five-storeyed, red-brick buildings thrown up not long after 1949 when the Communist Party came to power. Everyone was moving out.

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"The wall of one building was plastered with protest notices complaining that residents were not being given enough compensation.

"One day I walked to my bank, a small building on the main street, to discover only a pile of grey rubble.

"A new shopping centre with plate-glass windows slowly rose up from out of the desolation.

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"Amidst the noise and destruction birds and animals somehow managed to survive. Standing on the ninth floor of an earlier flat we lived in, I had the acute sensation of floating above a space that had been occupied by the residents of older houses, imagining them looking up at me and I, from my perch in the sky, looking down at them."

Renowned Oxford artist Weimin He has provided illustrations.

Mouse-Wolf by Elisabeth Hallett is published by Anglepoise Books, price £10.

For more information visit the website