Zero and Other Fictions

Kobo ebook | October 18, 2011

byHuang Fan, John Balcom

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Against the backdrop of nativist rural narratives dominating Taiwan's literary scene in the 1980s, Huang Fan published thrilling urban portraits and political satires, reorienting the nation's attention. His sardonic tone stood in stark contrast to the self-serious social realism then in vogue, and after decades of groundbreaking work, he is now one of Asia's most celebrated authors, crucial to understanding the development of Taiwanese literature over the past fifty years.

The first collection of Fan's work to appear in English, this anthology includes Zero, a futuristic novella that won the Unitas Prize, and three critically acclaimed short stories: "Lai Suo" (which won the China Times and Shibao Grand Literary Prize and established Fan's reputation), "The Intelligent Man," and "How to Measure the Width of a Ditch." In Zero, Xi De, a young man living among the elite in a postapocalyptic world, challenges the technocratic rule of a charismatic leader, mirroring Taiwan's own social character in the 1970s and containing strong allusions to George Orwell's 1984. Fan's novella poignantly renders the quandary of an idealistic man trapped between conflicting claims to truth, unsure of whether he is heroic or foolish in his ultimate choice of resistance or sacrifice. In the widely anthologized "Lai Suo," a naïve individual becomes the pawn of powerful men intent on advancement. "How to Measure the Width of a Ditch" is an absurdist, metafictional tale in which the narrator reminisces about his childhood in Taipei, and "The Intelligent Man" weaves an allegorical satire of Taiwanese migration to the United States and the business expansion to mainland China and Southeast Asia. All together, these remarkable works portray the tensions and aspirations underlying Taiwanese society, as well as other worlds waking up from political strife.

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Against the backdrop of nativist rural narratives dominating Taiwan's literary scene in the 1980s, Huang Fan published thrilling urban portraits and political satires, reorienting the nation's attention. His sardonic tone stood in stark contrast to the self-serious social realism then in vogue, and after decades of groundbreaking work,...

Huang Fan (b. 1950) is a prominent Taiwanese writer who gained recognition in the 1980s with his short story "Lai Suo." From 1993 to 2002, he retreated to a monastery to study Buddhist scripture, refusing all contact with the outside world. He subsequently recaptured the world's attention with the publication of "Impatient Country," "...
Format:Kobo ebookPublished:October 18, 2011Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231528051

ISBN - 13:9780231528054

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Table of Contents

Translator's Preface
Acknowledgments
Lai Suo
The Intelligent Man
How to Measure the Width of a Ditch
Zero

Editorial Reviews

offers perspective on universal themes including technology, political authority, and the vulnerability of the individual in modern society. Perhaps more importantly, this compilation is an indication of the growing respect given to Taiwanese literature by Anglophone academia.