Pai Hsien-yung is among the most important writers in contemporary Chinese and world literature. His masterpiece Taipei People is a classic of Taiwanese modernism; with an intensity of vision comparable to James Joyce’s Dubliners, it follows the individual struggles of the Taipei people, with a mix of compassion, nostalgia, mourning, and tenacious clarity.
Fifty years after its publication, the collection continues to move readers around the world. Stories from this collection have been translated into French, German, Italian, Dutch, Hebrew, Japanese and Korean.
“A collection of fourteen short stories, Taipei People presents a gallery of Chinese mainland emigres to Taiwan after the 1949 national divide. Despite their variegated backgrounds and experiences, these individuals share one thing in common: they cannot let go of memories of their days on the mainland. As a result, the people in these stories turn their nostalgia into lived reality.
…In the aftermath of a century that vowed to revolutionize everything, Pai calls for the capacity to feel, love, and act, as well as the generative power arising therefrom. It is this ‘beam of darkness,’ however ‘untimely,’ that Pai sought to define and redefine in Taipei People fifty years ago, and that he is still engaged in today.”
—David Der-wei Wang, Harvard University.
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