Flash Fiction from Contemporary China
By Shouhua Qi
China's hottest literary genre brings together the traditional, the experimental, and the avant-garde.
“Modern Chinese fiction . . . looks to have made a great leap towards the bookshelves of [Western] readers.”—Guardian
Hugely popular in China, flash fiction is poised to be the most exciting new development in contemporary Chinese literature in a decade. Integrating both vernacular and contemporary styles while embracing new technologies such as text messaging (SMS) and blogging, contemporary Chinese flash fiction represents the voice of a civilization at the brink of a startling and unprecedented transformation. This collection features 120 short-short stories (from 100 to 300 words each), written by some of China’s most dynamic and versatile authors. Dong Rui’s The Pearl Jacket offers a glimpse of the real and surreal in human evolution, Chen Qiyou’s Butterfly Forever brings an ancient Chinese literary motif into a startling modern context, while Liu Jianchao’s Concerned Departments mocks the staggering complexity of life in the new urban China. Traditional, experimental, and avant-garde, The Pearl Jacket and Other Stories will reinvigorate the position of young Chinese writers as a major presence in contemporary literature. Their voices breathe new energy into modern Chinese literature, leaving the literary and societal stagnation of the Cultural Revolution behind as a distant memory.
Shouhua Qi is an associate professor of English at Western Connecticut State University. He is the author of Red Guard Fantasies and Other Stories and When the Purple Mountain Burns. He is one of the foremost experts (and translators) of the novels of Thomas Hardy.