Synopses & Reviews
Extremely short stories-known as short-shorts-have become a global phenomenon, but nowhere have they been embraced as enthusiastically as in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. The form's artistic and aesthetic freedoms allow authors to capture the tone, texture, and chaos of their rapidly changing societies in infinitely inventive ways. Fragments and contingencies reveal unofficial histories, undocumented memories, and the trials of everyday individuals, and the genre's lean format is a welcome antidote to a culture characterized by rampant excess.
Loud Sparrows is a spirited collection of ninety-one short-shorts written by Chinese authors over the past three decades. Presenting diverse voices and perspectives by writers both well known and new to the art, the stories are culled from newspapers, magazines, literary journals, and personal collections. Their subjects range from the mundane to the sublime and illuminate everything from humanist ideals to traditional virtues to the material benefits of a commercialized society. The anthology is organized into thematic categories such as Change, Creatures, (In)fidelities, Grooming, Governance, Nourishment, and Weirdness, and includes notes to better understand the genre. Each section is introduced by an original piece of flash fiction written by Howard Goldblatt.
The short-short, to borrow a Chinese saying, is small as a sparrow but has all the vital organs of a good story. Loud Sparrows offers a comprehensive introduction to a unique literary genre that has revolutionized world literature.
"If sparrows are but a metaphor, every writer faces the challenge of reality, which is to say, how one catches this sparrow." So writes Bei Dao in his preface to "Loud Sparrows," a spirited collection of ninety-one short-shorts, an exciting new form of extreme short-storytelling that has swept the creative consciousness of mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. The artistic and aesthetic freedoms of short-shorts enable writers to capture the tone, texture, and chaos of their rapidly changing societies in infinitely inventive ways. Written by Chinese authors over the past three decades, the stories in this anthology are culled from newspapers, magazines, literary journals, and personal collections, and their subjects range from humanist ideals and traditional virtues to the material benefits of a commercialized society.