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Red Guard Fantasies and Other Storiesby Shouhua Qi
Synopses & Reviews
“With unadorned prose and utmost compassion, Qi portrays a range of characters beset by fortune and misfortune . . . Red Guard Fantasies offer glimpses of How to Be Chinese, now that instructions from the Little Red Book no longer apply.”—Gloria Frym, author of Distance No Object
Take a wild ride through contemporary Chinese society, which continues to accelerate at a blistering, unrestrained pace decades after the end of the Cultural Revolution. Red Guard Fantasies blazes a new trail in contemporary literature by forcing a reconciliation between China’s new urban sensibility and its centuries of tradition. The results are certainly not predictable. Shouhua Qi’s stories are witty, poignant, absurd, and shocking. Part autobiographical, they offer a masterful depiction of the myriad world of jaded entrepreneurs, overzealous cops, karaoke addicts, dog lovers, liberated coeds, and frustrated urbanites who move in and out of China’s colorful neon-lit cities and dusty rural villages, transitioning from one world to the other.
Shouhua Qi shows a China that is both superficial and plastic, as well as profoundly righteous and moralistic. He offers a powerful look at a society hanging on for dear life as it continues to shape its own culture at breakneck speed while holding on to its traditions lest they be buried or a skyscraper built upon them.
More than anything, Red Guard Fantasies is a deeply personal and powerfully moving elegy for China’s lost generation.
Shouhua Qi was born in Nanjing, China. He is associate professor of English at Western Connecticut State University.
"Modern China is on full display in this mixed bag of 14 stories in which memories of the Cultural Revolution are interwoven with the (mostly shallow) highs of freewheeling capitalism. Qi touches on a wide array of Chinese cultural touchstones and moments in the country's tumultuous recent history, but loose narrative structure and thin characters diminish most stories' resonance. 'Teacher Yu' charts the punishment and expulsion of a Nanjing language teacher for substituting the poetry of Tu Fu for the teachings from the Little Red Book (Qi's father suffered a similar fate), while 'Love Me, Love My Dog,' delights in the absurdity of wealthy housewife lapdog culture. Mayor Fagui Chen, the protagonist of 'Buddha's Feet,' exemplifies ambition, but an ironic turn abruptly ends his quick rise. 'The Test or The Little Rice Wine Pot,' examines China's preference for boys and the resulting abandonment, adoption and abortion. Two economical stories, 'How Was Your Dance Today?' and 'The Swallow: Not Exactly an Interlude' enter a more lyrical realm. Readers looking for an intro to post — Cultural Revolution Chinese fiction would do better to turn to Geling Yan or the late Wang Xiaobo." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A visit to the "Twilight Zone" of China, where morality plays challenge tradition and modernity.
Fiction. Asian Studies. In this collection of stories Shouhua Qi shows a China that is both superficial and plastic as well as profoundly righteous and moralistic. This is a work which offers a powerful look at a society hanging on for dear life as it continues to shape its own culture at breakneck speed while holding on to its traditions lest they be buried or a skyscraper built upon them. More than anything, RED GUARD FANTASIES is a deeply personal and powerfully moving elegy for China's lost generation. "Shouhua Qi's stories of post-Cultural Revolution China gloriously join the lineage of Chekhov. With unadorned prose and utmost compassion, Qi portrays a range of characters beset by fortune and misfortune. Here is China shocked in the 21st century. Big screen TVs, cell phones, hair mousse, condos, poodles, gated communities, colorful dresses, and AIDS coexist with broken Buddhas, ancient libations, ghosts, past lives and Confucian relics resurfaced after decades of frenzied banishment. RED GUARD FANTASIES offer glimpses of How to Be Chinese, now that instructions from the Little Red Book no longer apply"-Gloria Frym.
About the Author
Shouhua Qi is Associate Professor of English at Western Connecticut State University. A specialist in translating the novels of Thomas Hardy, he came to the U.S. as a graduate student in 1989 and received his Ph.D. in English from Illinois State University. His writings have appeared in "Feminist Studies" and "AMBIT."
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