16 Responses

  1. Trisha
    Trisha July 8, 2010 at 8:02 am |

    I am very intrigued by the idea of anti-love stories; after reading quite a few mushy love stories, I could use a dose of reality, er I mean pessimism(?) :) Thanks for the suggestion.

    1. Rebecca Reid
      Rebecca Reid July 9, 2010 at 6:58 am |

      Trisha, the stories certainly are realistic! I hope you enjoy them.

  2. Stefanie
    Stefanie July 8, 2010 at 10:10 am |

    I’ve heard so many good things about this book and each time someone blogs about it I think, oh I have to read it and then forget. So thanks for the reminder. I will try very hard to not forget about it again!

    1. Rebecca Reid
      Rebecca Reid July 9, 2010 at 6:58 am |

      Stefanie, I hope you remember and find it somewhere! Enjoy.

  3. Emily
    Emily July 8, 2010 at 11:41 am |

    I had never heard of Chang prior to Claire’s recent post about her, but after having read your thoughts I’m more intrigued than ever! From the excerpts people have posted, I think I would really like her prose style, and I can definitely get in the mood for some anti-love stories now and again (not that I am anti-love, but sometimes I like a taste of bitterness). :-) Thanks for the reminder!

    1. Rebecca Reid
      Rebecca Reid July 9, 2010 at 6:59 am |

      Emily, I’m glad I came across it — I can’t remember where I saw it first but I’ve seen it around for a few months. Enjoy!

  4. mee
    mee July 8, 2010 at 5:49 pm |

    Sealed Off is my favorite too! As with Red Rose, White Rose. I do think that the beginning of Golden Cangue isn’t very strong. I wish you had continued though because it gets really good further on.

    Her stories are anti-love yes, but I agree that they didn’t come across as depressing or bitter. Just great realistic portrayal of life in Hong Kong and China at the time, and Chinese culture history in general.

    1. Rebecca Reid
      Rebecca Reid July 9, 2010 at 7:00 am |

      Mee, I thought they did come across as depressing — but maybe that’s because I’m not familiar yet with Chinese history or the culture in general. I’ll have to read more Chinese books so I can get a better sense of it all.

  5. Aarti
    Aarti July 10, 2010 at 11:55 am |

    One of my favorite activities after reading an NYRB book (especially one that really CONFOUNDS me) is to try and determine WHY that book was chosen for republication and to be saved from obscurity by this publishing house. I feel like a lot of their books are ones that I struggle through to read and finish, and then feel quite accomplished for doing so, but then I more enjoy trying to figure out why that book was “saved.”

    1. Rebecca Reid
      Rebecca Reid July 12, 2010 at 6:59 am |

      Aarti, well, this one was also published by Penguin classics, so I don’t imagine it will have disappeared into obscurity. But there definitely is a place for it, so I’m very glad to have found it, I think thanks to the Spotlight Series!

  6. Valerie
    Valerie July 15, 2010 at 10:12 pm |

    After reading Chang’s “Red Rose, White Rose” in Jeffrey Eugenides’ “My Mistress’ Sparrow is Dead”, I got this book (by the way I happen to love the cover), but alas, I still haven’t read it. I do want to read it soon!

    1. Rebecca Reid
      Rebecca Reid July 19, 2010 at 6:19 am |

      Valerie, I hope you enjoy it! I like her style.

  7. Eva
    Eva July 20, 2010 at 3:37 am |

    I loved her more than you, but isn’t her storytelling just the best?!

    1. Rebecca Reid
      Rebecca Reid July 20, 2010 at 6:25 am |

      Eva, I wonder if I’d have loved it more if I’d read it at a different time? My summer reading has been kind of schizophrenic this year… I did like it, but not a favorite.

  8. claire
    claire July 23, 2010 at 12:13 pm |

    Rebecca, I’m sorry you weren’t able to get into The Golden Cangue. Mee is right, it does get better. It’s such a wry, smart novella that bites. But then I think all her stories were biting, sort of. Even if this didn’t become a favourite, I’m glad that you at least liked it.

    I agree with you that part of the strength of Sealed Off is the universality that it evokes. I thought it was a stunner, too. Love in a Fallen City, though, is my most favourite. Maybe for personal reasons, as it moved me more than any other piece in the collection. I think you were right in saying that this story will educate you more about Chinese culture and history than most of the other stories (except for Golden Cangue, which was equally educational).

    Having read your thoughts, I’ve come to understand that it can be quite difficult to understand the work of an author whose background is quite unfamiliar with the reader. I used to take for granted that Chinese and Japanese books were universally appealing but now realize that they are appealing to me because I connect with many of the experiences, much the same as you maybe connecting more with American and European than Asian books. Book blogging has opened my eyes to this..

    1. Rebecca Reid
      Rebecca Reid July 27, 2010 at 5:42 am |

      claire, I think part of the reason I couldn’t get into Golden Cangue is this summer: I just have a very short reading attention span!

      I think your comments on unfamiliar backgrounds is quite accurate — Japanese and Chinese literature feels somewhat foreign to me when I read it! Which is why I think it’s always good to read a little out of my comfort zone, so I can learn a little bit more bout these cultures!

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