Love in a Fallen City
by Eileen Chang, translated from the Chinese by Karen S. Kingsbury and Eileen Chang
Eileen Chang is one of the great writers of twentieth-century China, where she enjoys a passionate following both on the mainland and in Taiwan. At the heart of Chang’s achievement is her short fiction—tales of love, longing, and the shifting and endlessly treacherous shoals of family life. Written when Chang was still in her twenties, these extraordinary stories combine an unsettled, probing, utterly contemporary sensibility, keenly alert to sexual politics and psychological ambiguity, with an intense lyricism that echoes the classics of Chinese literature. Love in a Fallen City, the first collection in English of this dazzling body of work, introduces American readers to the stark and glamorous vision of a modern master.
With language as sharp as a knife edge, Eileen Chang cut open a huge divide in Chinese culture, between the classical patriarchy and our troubled modernity. She was one of the very few who could see on both sides of that divide, into which her heroines so often disappeared. Eileen Chang is the fallen angel of Chinese literature, and now, with these excellent new translations, English readers can discover why she is so revered by Chinese readers everywhere.
— Ang Lee
One of the most popular Chinese writers of the 20th century and a woman who made a major contribution to the cultural life of Shanghai.
— Shanghai Daily
This posthumous collection contains six vibrant stories that depict life in post-WW II China...Evocative and vivid, Chang's stories bristle with equal parts passion and resentment.
Eileen Chang is no doubt the most talented woman writer in 20th century China.
— David Der-wei Wang, Harvard University
Chang died in 1995 in Los Angeles, having emigrated to the U.S. in 1955 at 35. These six stories, most available in English for the first time, were published to acclaim in China and Hong Kong in the '40s; they explore, bewitchingly, the myriad ways love overcomes (or doesn't) the intense social constraints of time and place....In these eloquent tragedies, Chang plunges readers in medias res. She expertly burdens her characters with failed dreams and stifled possibilities, leads them to push aside the heavy curtains of family and convention, and then shows them a yawning emptiness. Their different responses are brilliantly underplayed and fascinating.
— Publishers Weekly, Starred Review