A book about an Anglo-Chinese couple who met at Oxford University in the 1930s has become a surprising hit in China.

It tells the story of Gladys Tyler, the first graduate in Chinese from Oxford and Yang Xianyi, who was sent to study in England by his family. The two survived purges and imprisonment to finally become admired translators of classics.

Because of the couple’s defiance of the government, the biography is officially banned in China. However, underground copies and internet editions are circulating widely among young readers.