To Westerners China has often seemed a monolith, speaking with one voice--whether that of an ancient dynasty, a socialist state, or an economic powerhouse. Chutzpah! New Voices from China
shatters this illusion, giving Western readers a rare chance to listen to the brilliant polyphony of Chinese fiction today.
Here, in the realms of realism and fantasy, and portraying worlds lyrical, gritty, or wildly avant-garde, sixteen selections--three of which are nonfiction--by up-and-coming Chinese writers take readers from the suburbs of Nanjing to the mountains of Xinjiang Province, from London's Chinatown to a universe seemingly sprung from a video game. In these stories one may encounter a sweet, lonely fabric store owner or a lesbian housecleaner, a posse of shit-talking vo-tech students or a human hive-mind. A jeep-driving swordsman girds himself for battle by reading Borges and Nabokov. A Beijing-raised Kazakh boy hunts for his lost heritage. A teenager plots revenge on the bureaucrat responsible for demolishing his home. A starving child falls in love with a water spirit.
These stories, collected by Ou Ning and Austin Woerner, and offered in English by leading translators of Chinese, travel the breadth and depth of China's remarkable literary landscape. Drawn from the pages of Chutzpah!
, one of China's most innovative literary magazines, this anthology bids farewell to the tired tropes of moonlight and peach blossoms, goodbye to the constraints of socialist realism. In their place it introduces us to the imaginative power, boundless creativity, and kaleidoscopic diversity of a new generation of Chinese fiction.
About the Author
Austin Woerner's translations include two poetry collections, Doubled Shadows: Selected Poetry of Ouyang Jianghe and Phoenix. He was the English translation editor for the Chinese literary journal Chutzpah! and co-edited Chutzpah!: New Voices from China. He holds a BA in East Asian Studies from Yale and an MFA from the New School. He is a lecturer at Duke Kunshan University in Shanghai, China.
An artist, curator, and cultural activist based in rural Anhui Province, Ou Ning is author of New Sound of Beijing. He served as editor-in-chief of Chutzpah! magazine (2011-2014), from which this collection is drawn.
"The stories that sing out in this collection--those of . . . obscure places and people--uniquely fit the peculiarities of the vast country. They are heartfelt, witty, sharp, odd, anguished, optimistic, and rueful; new voices for China indeed." --Artforum