Synopses & Reviews
Steeped in a long history of violence and suffering, Michael X. Wang’s debut collection of short stories interrogates personal and political events set against the backdrop of China that are both real and perceived, imagined and speculative. Wang plunges us into the fictional Chinese village of Xinchun and beyond to explore themes of tradition, family, modernity, and immigration in a country grappling with its modern identity. Further News of Defeat is rich with characters who have known struggle and defeat and who find themselves locked in pivotal moments of Chinese history—such as World War II and the Tiananmen Square massacre — as they face losses of the highest order and still find cause for revival.
"These stories…reveal a specific perspective on love, loss, tragedy, and triumph. The characters seem to face drastic choices, and because he’s a good storyteller, Wang doesn’t lead them down the right paths, knowing there’s a much better tale down the wrong turn." Story366
"Wang’s stories about a shifting modern China are never comfortable....They are unsettling, often brutal, sometimes tender, always plainspoken....Wang, who was born in the small coal-mining village of Fenyang in Shanxi Province and immigrated to the U.S. as a child, attends to the book’s inquiries with heart." The Carolina Quarterly
"Wang blends fictional towns and figures with real events, like the Tiananmen Square massacre, to construct a range of stories downright epic in scope. It is incredibly reductive to say that a country the size of China — or any country, for that matter — can be captured by a single book. But the characters in Wang’s Further News of Defeat provide an engaging, wide-ranging look at a country where the only thing more common than family and tradition is change." Pittsburgh Quarterly
About the Author
Michael X. Wang was born in Fenyang, a small coal-mining city in China’s mountainous Shanxi Province. He immigrated to the United States when he was six and has lived in 10 states and 15 cities. In 2010, he completed his PhD in Literature at Florida State University. Before that, he received his MFA in Fiction at Purdue. His work has appeared in New England Review, Greensboro Review, Day One, and Juked, among others, and they have won an AWP Intro Award and been selected by the Best American Anthology as a notable story of the year. He lives with his wife and pets at Russellville, Arkansas, and is currently an Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Arkansas Tech University.