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Woman from Shanghai by Xianhui Yang
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Woman from Shanghai

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Woman from Shanghai by Xianhui Yang
Paperback $16.00
Aug 24, 2010 | ISBN 9780307390974

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“Xianhui Yang’s Woman From Shanghai, a newly translated collection of firsthand accounts that the publisher calls ‘fact-based fiction,’ is about what might be called the Gulag Archipelago of China. . . . Woman From Shanghai represents a remarkable contribution to a growing literature based on personal histories. . . . Readers of Mr. Yang’s book should not be put off by the frequent recurrence of common elements in these stories: the exposure to bitter cold; hunger so intense as to cause inmates to eat human flesh; the familiar sequence of symptoms, beginning with edema, that lead down the path to death; the toolbox of common survivor techniques, from toadyism to betrayal, from stealthy theft to making use of the vestiges of privilege, which survived even incarceration in this era of radical egalitarianism. It is through the accumulation and indeed repetition of such things that this utterly convincing portrait of a society driven far off the rails is drawn. . . . Most moving of all, perhaps, is ‘The Love Story of Li Xiangnian,’ about the persecution of a young man and the persistence of his ardor for his girlfriend. The haggard Li escapes from detention to be reunited with her, only to be arrested again. Their touching reunion many years later, after the woman is married, would not be out of place in a Gabriel García Márquez novel.” —Howard W. French, The New York Times

“In Woman from Shanghai, Xianhui Yang describes in wrenching detail the squalid conditions and widespread starvation that only 600 of the 3,000 prisoners were able to survive. Even some who lived to see their convictions reversed were forced to become paid employees of the labor camp. . . . Despite these horrors, there are stories of selflessness and fortitude.” —Sarah Halzack, The Washington Post

“Told in stark, spare yet deeply compelling prose, infused with unsentimental compassion, Woman From Shanghai stands out amid the voluminous literature and testimonies about the persecution in Mao’s labor camps. It exposes torture and dehumanization, but is also a powerful rumination on hope, love and humanity.” —Fan Wu, San Francisco Chronicle

“With these complex, yet simple stories, Yang uncovers another chapter of China’s hidden history.  More important, he shows how strong the human spirit can be and how hard it is to break.”  —Chicago Sun-Times

“With unadorned simplicity, Yang’s works reject superficiality and demonstrate restraint, very much like the deceptively calm expression of a person whose mind is tortured by chaos. This type of controlled restraint draws the readers to the special magic of his stories.” —Lei Da, Executive Deputy Chair of the Chinese Writers’ Association

“Yang’s stories are the Chinese Gulag Archipelago that emerged from the deep water. Yang and other Chinese writers use their pen as weapons to defend our memory and preserve our history.”—Yu Jie, prominent Chinese critic

Table Of Contents

Preserving Memories of a Forgotten Era by Wen Huang

Arriving at Jiabiangou
Woman from Shanghai
The Train Conductor
Manure Collectors
The Love Story of Li Xiangnian
I Hate the Moon
The Thief
The Army Doctor
The Potato Feast
The Way Station Manager
The Clinic Director
Jia Nong

Translator’s Acknowledgments

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