Additional Book Information
Series: NYRB Classics
Publication Date: January 16, 2018
by Eileen Chang, translated by Jane Weizhen Pan and Martin Merz
An NYRB Classics Original
January 2018 selection for the NYRB Classics Book Club.
Now available in English for the first time, Eileen Chang’s dark romance opens with Julie, living at a convent school in Hong Kong on the eve of the Japanese invasion. Her mother, Rachel, long divorced from Julie’s opium-addict father, saunters around the world with various lovers. Recollections of Julie’s horrifying but privileged childhood in Shanghai clash with a flamboyant, sometimes incestuous cast of relations that crowd her life. Eventually, back in Shanghai, she meets the magnetic Chih-yung, a traitor who collaborates with the Japanese puppet regime. Soon they’re in the throes of an impassioned love affair that swings back and forth between ardor and anxiety, secrecy and ruin. Like Julie’s relationship with her mother, her marriage to Chih-yung is marked by long stretches of separation interspersed with unexpected little reunions. Chang’s emotionally fraught, bitterly humorous novel holds a fractured mirror directly in front of her own heart.eileen chang
Originally written in 1976 but not published until 2009 in China, this is a welcome discovery from a writer who is only now, more than two decades after her death, coming into her own.
Before Joan Didion, there was Eileen Chang. A slender, dramatic woman with a taste for livid details and feverish colors, Chang combined Didion’s glamour and sensibility with the terrific wit of Evelyn Waugh. She could, with a single phrase, take you hostage.
—Jamie Fisher, The Millions
Her writing...is cinematically crisp, and phantasmagorical.... She had the lunatic sensibilities of Marc Chagall, married to a Henri Matisse–like elegance.
—Ilaria Maria Sala, The Wall Street Journal