I'm surprised that, until today, I had never heard of the novel entitled Yīnggélìshì 英格力士 (English) by Wáng Gāng 王刚, which was published in 2004. Now, thanks to Bruce Humes's article, "The 2013 Istanbul Book Fair, Xinjiang Connections and 'English'", posted November 3 on his blog called "Altaic Storytelling: Tales from Istanbul to Heilongjiang", I'm delighted to learn about this fascinating book.
In an April 18 post by Bruce, "Book Review: “English” by Wang Gang, or Growing up Han in Fictional Xinjiang", I find that there is even an English translation of the novel by by Martin Merz and Jane Weizhen Pan that was published by Viking Penguin in 2009. Here's the Amazon listing for the translation, with editorial and customer reviews.
How could I possibly have missed this colorful novel, especially since it is about a guy named Love Liu (!) who grows up in the polyglot (Uyghur, Russian, Chinese) swirl of Xinjiang during the Cultural Revolution in the far northwest of the PRC (where the mummies I have studied were found)? When English appears on the scene, in the person of Mr. Second Prize Wang, a cosmopolitan English teacher from Shanghai, Love becomes enamored of this new language and attracted to his teacher.
Here's the entry on Wang Gang in Paper Republic, and here's a review of the novel by Gregory McCormick in The Quarterly Conversation.
Bruce is currently in Istanbul studying Turkish and undergoing "China de-tox", having lived in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Shenzhen, or Kunming since 1992. He reports:
A noble goal, one that is certainly to reap interesting and valuable results. I look forward to learning more about Bruce's discoveries in the coming years.