From one of China’s most famous contemporary writers, who celebrated novel To Live catapulted him to international fame, here is a stunning collection of stories, selected from the best of Yu Hua’s early work, that shows his far-reaching influence on a pivotal period in Chinese literature.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Yu Hua and other young Chinese writers began to reimagine their national literature. Departing from conventional realism in favor of a more surreal and subjective approach inspired by Kafka, Faulkner, and Borges, the boundary-pushing fiction of this period reflected the momentous cultural changes sweeping the world’s most populous nation.
The stories collected here show Yu Hua masterfully guiding us from one fractured reality to another. “A History of Two People” traces the paths of a man and a woman who dream in parallel throughout their lives. “In Memory of Miss Willow Yang” weaves a spellbinding web of signs and symbols. “As the North Wind Howled” carries a case of mistaken identity to absurd and hilarious conclusions. And the title story follows an unforgettable narrator determined to unearth a conspiracy against him that may not exist. By turns daring, darkly comic, thought-provoking, and profound, The April 3rd Incident is an extraordinary record of a singular moment in Chinese letters.
“Accomplished, genre-bending. . . . Yu’s devastating wit and morbid humor are on full display. . . . Collected from work written by the author in the 1980s and ’90s, the stories are formally experimental, indicative of a burgeoning period in Chinese literature and society. In the title story, Yu takes the reader on a Calvino-esque journey of time loops, characters who are not as they are purported to be, and conspiracy theories, as the protagonist grows suspicious that his friends and family around him are in on a long con that will come to a head on April 3rd. . . . Surreal, humorous, and unexpectedly poignant, Yu’s collection will satisfy fans and readers new to his writing alike.” Publishers Weekly

“Written at the beginning of the stellar career of China's globally acclaimed writer Yu, that is from 1987–91, these seven stories are finally making their English-language debut. While structurally this collection reveals how literature was opening up and changing in sync with the growing Chinese economy, the character-driven content comments more on human nature than politics. . . . [This] collection shows that his literary prowess and mastery were present from the start.”
—Jennifer Rothschild, Booklist