Contemporary Taiwanese Women Writers: An Anthology

by Jonathan Stalling, Lin Tai-man, and Yanwing Leung

Reviews

"These gems of short fiction by women writers from Taiwan are a wonderful treat. Beautifully translated into English, they unfold and flicker with wistful, comic, and enigmatic lights and shadows. The vignettes and snapshots imbue existential anxiety and street life with grim and exquisite lyricism, mixed with unstoppable yearnings for sunlight and romance." —Ban Wang, William Haas Professor in Chinese Studies and Professor of Comparative Literature, Stanford University

"What is striking about this fascinating volume of writings by the contemporary set of Taiwan’s established and emerging women writers is the eclectic range of its content. Stories explore marriage and divorce, illness and death, feminism and misogyny, sexual ambitions and desires—a thirty-year-old woman engages in casual sex in a desperate effort to get pregnant, while a fifteen-year-old fantasizes about having sex with a much older man. Together, these stories show us how Taiwan’s society is uniquely traditional and hyper-modern, provincial and cosmopolitan. An excellent collection of contemporary Taiwanese literature!" —Carlos Rojas, Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Duke University

"This collection of short fictional works written by women from Taiwan embodies some of the finest writing in Chinese of the postwar era. Those seeking outstanding short works by women now available under one convenient cover and in English translation need go no farther than Contemporary Taiwanese Women Writers: An Anthology. Many of the literary stars of Taiwan in recent decades such as Chen Jo-hsi, Chu T’ien-wen, Ping Lu, and Li Ang are represented in it. Chu’s classic “The Story of Hsiao Pi” was enshrined in an early example of New Taiwan Cinema by Chen Kunhou and Hou Hsiao-hsien. Liao Huiying’s “Seed of the Rape Plant” is a saga of life in Taiwan from the 1960s to the 1980s and was also made into a hugely popular film. Li Ang’s work is a provocative collision of sexuality and politics. The works in this volume are saturated with teenage angst, vexed relations between young women and their parents, depictions of poverty and loneliness, and in some cases utter hilarity. This book would be a wonderful addition to a course in world literature by women. The translations are gems that will fascinate any serious reader. The stories are endearing, award-winning classics that in the original Chinese are known to avid readers of Chinese throughout the world. It is a tribute to Cambria Press’ dedication to Chinese literature and culture that these stories can now be shared with English speakers. I strongly encourage those who enjoy excellent works of short fiction to read this volume." —Christopher Lupke, Professor and Chair, Department of East Asian Studies, University of Alberta


 

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