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!FREE PDF ☳ 傾城之戀 ♲ Eileen Chang Is One Of The Great Writers Of Twentieth Century China, Where She Enjoys A Passionate Following Both On The Mainland And In Taiwan At The Heart Of Chang S Achievement Is Her Short Fiction Tales Of Love, Longing, And The Shifting And Endlessly Treacherous Shoals Of Family Life Written When Chang Was Still In Her Twenties, These Extraordinary Stories Combine An Unsettled, Probing, Utterly Contemporary Sensibility, Keenly Alert To Sexual Politics And Psychological Ambiguity, With An Intense Lyricism That Echoes The Classics Of Chinese Literature Love In A Fallen City, The First Collection In English Of This Dazzling Body Of Work, Introduces American Readers To The Stark And Glamorous Vision Of A Modern Master Hong Kong in the 1940s Chinese customs and English manners Eileen Chang transported me to that fusion, helped me understand it in a way that a mere history would not Chang looks for the symbols, not just for us, but for her characters too There are recurrent images A man clutches azaleas on a bus, the red coloring the window A young man sees this and rests his head on his own cold window Later he will see red azaleas outside the window at his home, and rest his head on a cool table top In another story The wall was cool and rough, the color of death Pressed against the wall, her face bloomed with the opposite hues red lips, shining eyes a face of flesh and blood, alive with thought and feeling.You could read these stories as feminist tract You could read it as life, everyday life of real people, while the War looms You could read it as a search for love, tantalizingly just out of reach Is it possible for us to ever understand one another Life was like the Bible, translated from Hebrew to Greek, from Greek to Latin, from Latin to English, from English to Mandarin Chinese When Cuiyuan read it, she translated the Mandarin into Shanghainese Some things did not come through.There is a story called Red Rose, White Rose It is not a story of adultery, not really,a story of what might have been There were two women in Zhenbao s life one he called his white rose, the other his red rose Maybe every man has had two such women at least two Marry a red rose and eventually she ll be a mosquito blood streak smeared on the wall, while the white one is moonlight in front of my bed Marry a white rose, and before long she ll be a grain of sticky rice that s gotten stuck to your clothes the red one, by then, is a scarlet beauty mark just over your heart. Hint like the azaleas, the moonlight, here, should be followed My favorite story was Sealed Off A tramcar stops suddenly Unspoken, that looming War is the causeDing ding ding rang the bell Each ding was a small, cold dot dot after dot, they formed a line that cut through space and time. Dots Yes, the tram is full of people Dots in a line What do we do when the tramcar stops People who had newspapers read newspapers those who didn t have newspapers read receipts, or rules and regulations, or business cards People who were stuck without a single scrap of printed matter read shop signs along the street They simply had to fill this terrifying emptiness otherwise, their brains might start working Thinking is painful business. That s why I always take a book Eventually one dot leaves the line A man He goes to talk to a woman Small, cold dots Ding ding ding Ding ding ding. Eileen Chang s Ailing Zhang stories, first published collectively as Romances, recreate in Love in a Fallen City a view of Chinese culture and society of the 1940s through keen observations of a fading traditional world Chang s anthology of Chinese life offers a bleak yet insightful analysis of male and female natures, domestic roles, moral values and self centered relationships, masterfully depicting in elegant prose a past struggling to maintain control against a revolutionizing present.The title story, Love in a Fallen City, is a tale of two cities in transition old Shanghai and modern Hong Kong with the Japanese invasion of 1941 as a subtly structured backdrop, and owns one of Chang s rare hopeful endings Over the stale atmosphere of an oppressive household, a huqin wails its melancholic tune of a heroine who endures the stigma of divorce and the spiteful pettiness and jealousy of her relatives Fealty and filial piety, chastity and righteousness fill the life that mundanely ticks away on the dry, wrinkled hands of the old clock Bai Liusu s daily life, bowing to the ways of old, is a suffocatingtale too desolate for wordsShe grabs a chance to flee Shanghai to cosmopolitan Hong Kong, to explore freedom from the restrictions of an antiquated life, but steps in the diverting path of Liuyuan a Western educated man, refined, egotistic and traditionally chauvinistic Old gender stereotypes distort a budding romance but, as long established barriers crumble a dutiful, prostrating woman might find love in the ashes of a razed city, if the game is played right.Chang, a scholar of The Dream of The Red Chamber, sculpts her literary aesthetics with the sophisticated style of the Chinese classics whose heroines, bound by old feudal systems, pine idealistically for pure love while pessimism darkens their nature and desolation overshadows their existence In The Golden Cangue her most dismal story in contrast to LFC andimplicit in her denouncement of a degrading social system Chang draws images of that thing around your neck metaphor for the enslavement and control of its wearer, exploring how human nature degenerates when left in morally putrefied surroundings Ch i ch iao, sold by her brother into marriage to the paralyzed son of an upper class family, shares the fate of many Chinese women forced into an overtly dehumanizing practice Trapped under the roof of decadence and corruption, Ch i ch iao sense of virtue deteriorates and, driven to madness, retaliates for her sad, pathetic life by cruelly victimizing her children Life is an exquisite gown riddled with lice Eileen ChangIn A History of Modern Chinese Fiction, C T Hsia praises Eileen Chang as a literary genius, helping to steer newly critical appraisal of her work after decades of almost being forgotten Chang enjoyed instant success with Love in a Fallen City and was popularly compared to Jane Austen for her probing psychological insights into society and love relationships Why then did this stunning writer allow her star to fizzle retreat into a self imposed exile die a veritable recluse The romantic in me imagines some unfulfilled passion parallel to the tragic heroine Lin Daiyu of The Dream of The Red Chamber I m excited that this renewed interest in Chang s work means flooding the Western market with English translations, among them, hopefully soon, her biography Other pending reads from Eileen Chang Naked EarthThe Fall of the PagodaThe Rice Sprout SongThe Rouge of the North Written on Water 4.5 starsThis comprises of four novellas and two short stories written by Chang in the 1940s They contain opposites in tension spiritual and physical love, East against West, tradition clashing with modernity The effects of war and western influences are never very far away The settings revolve around Hong Kong and Shanghai Chang was not immune to the tensions in her own country and despite initial success in her own country, when she was forced to move to the US she struggled to relaunch her career She died a recluse in 1995 There is an acidity to the writing which is delightful and Chang has a perceptive way of building and showing character In the title story a young divorcee is falling in love with a wealthy playboy Whenever they were in public, he made sure to give the impression of affectionate intimacy, so now there was no way to prove that they had not slept together When he gives her up and despair sets in her family s response is telling People who don t have money can t just give up, even if they want to Shave your head, become a nun, and when you beg for alms, you ll still have to deal with people Chang s powers of description are also very powerful one of the stories begins The tramcar driver drove his tram, the tramcar tracks, in the blazing sun, shimmered like two shiny worms oozing out from water stretch, then shrink, stretch, then shrink Soft and slippery, long old worms, slinking on and on and on the driver stared at the wriggling rails, and did not go mad But most of all Chang looks at the role women in a changing world trapped by social constraints and a very limited supply of options Some of the characters fail, others succeed to an extent, but Chang creates memorable and convincing characters who command attention Although Chang is better known now she still does not get the attention she deserves and she certainly does deserve a wider audience. Part of my Fall 2017 Best Of Chinese Literature projecthere, and a cool list of books here.Eileen Chang, arguably China s most influential female writer, was a scholar of English literature, which gives Love in a Fallen City an interesting kind of familiarity The setting is different, but we ve seen the plot before This is the one about the seducer and the fallen woman Liusu is divorced used goods When a wealthy playboy flirts with her, she s torn flattered but wary But she agrees to go with him to Hong Kong, where, soon enough, she finds herself ensnared He casually creates the perception that she s his mistress, so her reputation is done for anyway she can now keep her honor but only to herself, or become a mistress in fact as well and at least get some temporary financial benefit.Chang was writing in the 1940s, and what you hear is Victorian novels The rake is an invention of Victorian prudishness this sort of scenario was already unfashionable So the big twist in this one is welcome, and it s the only sort of twist that could really have surprised me view spoiler it turns out Liuyuan has been serious the whole time As the Japanese invade and bombs fall in Hong Kong, they get married Hope, of all things hide spoiler 4.5 5 In China, as elsewhere, the constraints imposed by the traditional moral code were originally constructed for the benefit of women they made beautiful women even harder to obtain, so their value rose, and ugly women were spared the prospect of never ending humiliation Women nowadays don t have this kind of protective buffer, especially not mixed blood girls, whose status is entirely undefined. I love Pearl S Buck, I really do, but the way her written legacy interfered with that of Eileen Chang s is a tragedy Readers introduced through the Nobel Prize Winner to China would expect exacting honor, high drama, sultry romance, any other conjunction of the profligating misnomer known as the East evenabsurd a concept when said readers are US bound and must look to the west for their fill of fiction They would not have been satisfied with these short and biting works, bred on an entirely different culture with strainsakin to Fitzgerald and O Connor than anything the historical fiction trends of the States could conjure up And so we left yet another author to their own devices, till when dead and gone we could sift through and lift up their works in as fitting a posthumous manner as we please A bitter triumph both here and across the sea, for as an expatriate Chang was unjustly ignored, the only alternative to a home country banning You ll find very little of such unsavory politickings here, an authorial choice that let her works alone before the government shifted and her wealthy background combined with lack of polemical interests chased her from Shanghai to Hong Kong and finally to LA to die alone in an apartment within my lifetime It s a flavor of acrid living that she captured on paper even in her youthful twenties, as these stories are happiness of the trained sort, gilded robes and bound feet reminiscent of ruffled skirts and excised ribs in the land of Christians and their Boxer Rebellion True, Shanghai is not Paris or London, Berlin or New York, but you don t need white people to play out the conflicts of modern life on a theme of hope and decadence, luxurious backdrops galore to the young choking on the old, women flying too far to forget the taste when time comes for men to clip their wings.There s beauty, though, unfamiliar enough for me to spend a moment unraveling the colors and densities, landscapes heated to a different symphony of flora and fauna, living spaces enclosed within collections of wood and stone whose recognition comes only through many a visit to the houses of my friends, here in the Bay Area where the high school classes are 18% Caucasian and the vernacular of ABC American Born Chinese , banana yellow on the out, white on the in , and egg you get the picture were the norm on campus grounds This mix and meld of upbringing made me wish once to follow said friends on one of their summer retreats to kith and kin, a wish revitalized by what I knew within these pages and the farthat I didn t I know my poor head for languages too well to ever hope to grasp the five thousand plus characters of the Chinese language, but the excursion would provide sorely needed grounding of contextual reality for my abstract intake, if nothing else That, and reading The Story of the Stone, whose pervasive influence apparent even in this literature of the 20th century has shoved it forward a few hundred in the shelves The white Liang mansion was melting viscously into the white mist, leaving only the greenish gleam of the lamplight shining through square after square of the green windowpanes, like ice cubes in peppermint schnapps When the fog thickened, the ice cubes dissolved, and the lights went out. Keep an eye on that NYRB cover, Ah Xian s China, China Bust 34 in profile It conveys the book better than I ever could. Currently spinning Li XianglanOld Shanghai MixBefore Amy Tan, there was Eileen Chang Chang did in the early 20th century what Tan wants to do today write stories that convey the relationships between men and women, old traditions vs new, traditional vs modernity Chang did it with substantial grace I ve liked Tan, but I realize now what I was missing Not that it s fair to make comparisons, so I won t here These six stories included in this collection are hard at times to read due to their poignancy but at other times, the prose is so heartbreakingly beautiful that it s hard to turn away I purposely read this collection slowly so I could savor each phrase as it felt evident even through the translations that Chang chose each word with such precision It s a strong collection, but it also feels fragile, delicate, cold, like something that belongs in a museum.Upon the translucent blue silk umbrella myriad raindrops twinkled blue like a skyful of stars that would follow them about later on the taxi s glistening front window of crushed silver and, as the car ran through red and green lights, a nestful of red stars would fly humming outside the window and a nestful of green stars p224, The Golden Cangue There sof Chang s writing out there, and I hope to one day readof it She and her brother were the last in their family and they are both dead now I don t often wish there was a next generation that might choose to take up writing, but in this case, I did. No suelo leer mucha literatura asi tica y china a n menos y lo poco que he le do hasta ahora casi siempre ha sido de jap n, pero este peque o libro me llam la atenci n por el t tulo y por estar editado por asteroide que no me suele defraudar El libro contiene dos relatos en los que la autora nos cuenta dos historias situadas en los a os 40 del pasado siglo consiguiendo de forma brillante describir la sociedad china de esa poca y su formas sociales Me ha gustado pero tengo que decir que me ha sabido a poco , tal vez por mi falta de costumbre de leer a autores de ese continente con su peculiar forma de narrar tan diferente al de los autores europeos o americanos que es lo que suelo leer habitualmente y tambi n por que los relatos cortos no me suelen enganchar de la misma forma que las novelas. Funny that this is translated Love in a Fallen City has connotations of attachment or longing, not just love Not to mention Fallen City is also allusive, referring not just to beauty and allure, but also something so beautiful that it leads to the downfall of a state the full phrase beingThen again, how could you be expected to translate all of this in the title without putting footnotes on the front cover When I was going through this collection, I felt that I was reading the same story written five or six times Love and longing in a colonial city on the border between the Western World and China, family disputes, and lamenting the loss of youth or independence But this is the same excellent story written five or six times, so I can t really dispute it Although the title reference is explicitly political, politics takes a background to thesubtle details of family disputes and internal thoughts Only in the title story, where love blossoms in a city now seized by the Japanese, we now see the stark contrast between political collapse and personal satisfaction.These are stories not so much about the romantic ideals of love, but people playing with the games of love, or people so lonesome or caught up in their own troubles that love seems out of reach and cannot cure their woes In reading these, you feel a painful sense of longing, and a sense of lonely people trying to find a place of refuge in the midst of chaos. The incandescence of moonlight permeates Eileen Chang s prose, her stories tinged with the half light of heartbreak and centred upon the lives of mainly upper or middle class Chinese women in the mid 20th century Although it would be disingenuous to label Chang as a writer whose novels are centred on feminism, she certainly actively explores the role of women in what was a patriarchal society from the stifling nature of social conventions surrounding a woman s role in Chinese society, to all of the prejudices and inhibitions which women faced, Chang s female characters have rich and well developed emotional lives Not that all of them are positive in fact few, if any, of the characters in any of the stories could be considered positive or likeable, instead they all seem to be trapped in their selfishness or self absorption as in the case of the Mistresses in The Golden Cangue or naive and weak as in the case of Weilong in Aloeswood Incense Yet, trapped within the narrow confines of a woman s position in Chinese society at the time, it is easy to understand why the Mistresses who have little to no outside life outside of their homes are so insular and why Weilong, who has had no chance to encounter romance before meeting the conniving playboy George Qiao can seem to naive and emotionally underdeveloped Her physical descriptions of the female character brings out the ephemeral beauty they radiate One of Madame Liang s delicate hands held the banana leaf by the stem As she twirled around, thin rays of light shone through the slits in the leaf, spinning across her face On the other hand, the male characters, who come from positions of power, often come across as narrow minded bullies or, in the case of Chaunjing malevolent and deeply insecure Chang actively tries to explore thenegative aspect of the human condition, her stories tinged with sadness and the sorrows of love and human relationships To young people the moon of thirty years ago should be a reddish yellow wet stain the size of a copper coin., like a teardrop on a letterIn the old people s memory the moon of thirty years ago was gay, larger and white than the moon now But looked back after thirty years of on a rough road, the best of moons is apt to be tinged with sadness Chang writes beautifully, her metaphors, such as the following are unusual and beautiful and obviously influenced by the poets of the Chinese Tang Dynasty The moon had just risen it was dark and yellow, like the scorch mark left on jade green satin when a burning ash of incense falls on somebody s needlework In addition to this, Chang is able to give the world in which her stories take place depth, via her painterly descriptions of the natural world It was almost dawn The flat waning moon got lower, lower and large and by the time it sank, it was like a red gold basin The sky was a cold bleak crab shell blue At the horizon the morning colours were a layer of green, a layer of yellow and a layer of red like a watermelon cut open the sun was coming up Chang s stories are visually stunning explorations of the lives of upper and middle class Chinese society, often from the point of view of women and represent a unique synthesis of Chinese poetry and Western narrative styles She easily stands with other great short story writers of the 20th century, such as Katherine Mansfield, Salinger and Alice Munro and should really be readwidely.