YIN – A Love Story


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At last, my novel, YIN—A Love Story has just been released. More so than any of my 14 other books, YIN has been a labor of devotion, exploration, perseverance, and growth for me. In fact, it has taken me 23 years to write it. I have never been so excited about a book, nor so deeply invested in its message.

My love has pulsed steadily with memories of my sage’s glance, his touch, his words, the way his face bore age, the way his nails curled, the way his earlobes hung low, the way his teeth gleamed and finally fell. It is so dark. It is so cold. I am still so in love. ~ From YIN

Every decade or so, a novel appears that breaks all the rules and in the process touches the hearts and minds of millions. Like the other transformative classics—Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Ishmael, Watership Down, and Life of PiYIN is such a novel.

Traditional Chinese culture rests upon the shoulders of three great sages, Confucius, the Buddha, and Lao Tzu. YIN is the story of the latter, the most mysterious and least known of the heavenly trio, and his quest for a soul mate, a quest answered by a tortoise, a Galápagos giant to be precise, brought to him, as a tiny baby, from across the great Pacific.

A work of magical realism in the vein of Gabriel Garcia Márquez and David Mitchell, YIN chronicles the efforts of the great sage to create the woman of his dreams. It is a novel of idealism, frustration, persistence, unimaginable endurance, failure, tragedy, and triumph. Set alternately in current China’s era of economic marvels and social change, and in the formative, ancient dynasty during which the seeds of today’s great nation were sown, YIN entrances and enchants as a love story for the ages, yet also mines an ancient philosophy to offer readers both a different way of thinking and of looking at the world, and a recipe for social and environmental change.

Questioning the speed-and-greed consumerism of the USA, and challenging China to come back to its roots, it will be the first literary novel to be simultaneously published in both countries on November 1, 2015.

In Depth

Listen to Taoist Monk Yunrou talk about his interest in turtles, literature, China, and how they came together to shape and influence his newest novel, YIN.

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About the Author


Yunrou is a Taoist monk born in America and ordained in China. The recipient of numerous honors and awards, he hosted the hit national public television show Longevity Tai Chi, is a highly respected martial arts master, teacher, and the author of more than a dozen critically acclaimed works of fiction and non-fiction. The launch of this novel—which is different in tone and concept from anything else that he’s done—will be the first under his Taoist name.


YIN will be published towards the end of 2015. Be sure to sign-up for Yunrou’s newsletter and be one of the first to know when it is available.


Praise for YIN

I just finished YIN; what an amazing read. BRAVO! The dual love stories are perfectly paralleled. Your insight, especially into Yin in her turtle form (such wisdom and cheekiness—I love her!), kept me thinking about these characters and their adventures long after I turned the final page and set the book down.

I’m sure this novel will make its mark, and get into the hands of many satisfied readers. Both socially relevant and humorously wise, YIN is a story so affectionately written, so relatable, that it is easy to lose oneself in the characters, their plights, their victories, and their very human struggles.

From the warm, sandy beaches of the Galapagos Islands, to the forests, castles, and temples of China, YIN is an adventure that explores what it means to become human.

Kate Melia

Actress and Producer, Known for %22Love in Absentia%22, %22Whiskey Slide%22, and %22Marin Blue%22

Yunrou’s YIN is charming and profound. This winsome tale of the thousand-year old love affair between an ancient Chinese philosopher and a giant Galapagos tortoise is not only beautifully written, it has much to teach contemporary readers caught up in the distractions of modernity. Readers of all ages will find much to amuse, instruct and uplift them in this deceptively modest book.

Adam Bellow

Editorial Director, Broadside Books/HarperCollins

YIN brings to life the ancient wisdom of the Tao, and leaves the reader—who is caught up in the mystery, suspense, and exotic settings of this cross-millennial tale—wiser, more optimistic, and a believer in the mystical wonder of the universe. Monk Yunrou, trained by Chinese masters, gives us an insightful, page-turning fable that illuminates potent ideas long embedded in China’s soul, and through his exquisite storytelling makes them available to the rest of the world.

Tom Peek

Award-winning author of the novel, %22Daughters of Fire%22

Among the rich offerings of contemporary fantasy literature, novels set in China are few and far between.  This is probably due to the gulf which continues to separate western and eastern cultures. So we can be all the more grateful for the nimble ease with which that gulf is crossed by Monk Yunrou’s extraordinary new novel YIN, a philosophical adventure story in which Taoism, humor, mystery, and a keen appreciation of Chinese life and thought are blended into an exhilarating cocktail.  A tai chi master who is also a published author with works spanning the range from crime fiction to medical research, Yunrou has traveled widely in China and is possibly the first Westerner to have been ordained a Taoist monk at the Pure Yang Temple in Guangzhou.  Taken together with Yunrou’s graceful, polished prose, these elements combine to make YIN a truly special reading experience.

Dennis O’Flaherty

Author of, %22King of the Cracksmen%22

Remarkably, you have created, in Long Ears, a plausible Chinese genius. I especially enjoy the banter between Yin and Long Ears; and the scenes where they speak “over the head” of a third interlocutor are especially charming and wise. Similarly, Yin and Li are unfailingly believable as, across the centuries, they take up the original relationship in an exciting new 21st century  key.The sheer range of material covered is foundational to the overall fascination the novel sustains. From the highly esoteric (how the Chinese language has changed from speaking within nature to its contemporary preoccupation with cause and effect) to the most mundane factual daily details, its variousness is truly scholarly but, because always deeply felt, never becomes pedantic or boring. You have “popularized” an extraordinary amount of different kinds of material here: ancient days and modern times, technology and philosophy, manners and morals, legends and facts, religion and the supernatural, politics and sex, romance and adventure. The balance between all the moving parts is cleanly rendered and perfectly balanced as we alternate back and forth between the two chronologies of the duplex structure. YIN is perfectly paced. Even on second reading, it never fails to hold the reader’s attention. The “magical realism” does not cloy because you invariably ground it in a world you make real and familiar on the page. Above all, Yin’s transformation on the run is handled, I would say, brilliantly. It was your central narrative challenge, since nothing else will matter if we disbelieve in her metamorphosis, and we the readers never doubt. Her ultimate fate and Li’s return to the Island is a splendid coda for a novel of magical realism because it manages to suggest our world is only real exactly because it is always magical. I hope YIN is the best-seller it deserves to be.
Herb Borkland

Author and Martial Artist

Magical realism, meet Taoist sci-fi. A great read that teaches us about nature, Chinese culture, and life itself.

Don Lyman

Former Senior U.S. Diplomat