Xue Yiwei. Translator Darryl Sterk
The first book in English by acclaimed Chinese-Canadian writer Xue Yiwei, Shenzheners is inspired by the young city of Shenzhen, a market town north of Hong Kong that became a Special Economic Zone in 1980 as an experiment in introducing capitalism to Communist China. A city in which everyone is a newcomer, Shenzhen has grown astronomically to become a major metropolitan centre. Hailed as a Chinese Dubliners, the original collection was named one of the Most Influential Chinese Books of the Year in 2013, with most of the stories appearing in Best Chinese Stories.
Shenzheners is the winner of the 2017 Blue Metropolis / Montreal Arts Council Prize for Literary Diversity.
Author Xue Yiwei:
Xue Yiwei is an award-winning Chinese writer born in Chenzhou and raised in Changsha, in Hunan province. He has a B.Sc. in Computer Science from Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, an M.A. in English Literature from Université de Montréal, and a Ph. D. in Linguistics from Guangdong University of Foreign Studies. He has taught Chinese literature at Shenzhen University and is the author of sixteen books, including four novels—Desertion (1989, reissued 2012), Dr. Bethune’s Children (2011), Farewells from a Shadow (2013), and Empty Nest (2014)—and five collections of stories. He lives in Montreal.
Translator Darryl Sterk:
Darryl Sterk is a Canadian literary translator specializing in fiction in Mandarin Chinese, including Wu Ming-Yi’s The Man With the Compound Eyes (Harvill Secker; Vintage Pantheon) and Horace Ho’s The Tree Fort Over Carnation Lane (Balestier). He teaches translation in the Graduate Program of Translation and Interpretation at National Taiwan University and lives in Taipei.
"One of the biggest surprises of the year was the news that a writer widely read and respected in China was living in Montreal in almost total anonymity, his work untranslated, his reputation an unshared secret. Xue Yiwei’s Shenzheners (Linda Leith Publishing, translated by Darryl Sterk), set in the author’s former home city, takes the template of Joyce’s Dubliners for a set of loosely connected stories that add up to an emotionally affecting cubistic street-level portrait of China’s newest megalopolis. Introducing Yiwei to the English-reading world was a coup for LLP, whose strong year overall included essential books from Martine Delvaux (The Last Bullet Is For You, a reimagining, translated by David Homel, of Elizabeth Smart’s By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept) and Jack Hannan (the sui generis The Poet Is a Radio, in which 8th-century Chinese poet Li Bai washes up in 21st-century Montreal)." -- Ian McGillis, The Gazette, Dec. 16, 2016.
Review by Richard King @richardking18 on CBC Radio Homerun, Nov 16:
@cbcHomerun I raved about Shenzheners by Xue Yiwei. A perfect collection of short stories, excellent intro to work of author @LL_Publishing.
"What Xue Yiwei does is shine an unflinching light on the lives of people in contemporary China, and, in doing so, questions the price that China is paying for this “modern” society—a question that China (and perhaps all of us) ignores at its peril." -- Judy Fong Bates, "Trapped in Shenzhen. Folktales from a hyper-modern 21st-century city," Literary Review of Canada, Nov. 2016, p. 18