Author: Lin Zhe
Translator: George A. Fowler
Publisher: Dog Ear Publishing, LLC
Original language: Chinese
Beijing-based writer Lin Zhe’s novel Waipode Gucheng (外婆的古城), on which this translation is faithfully based, paints an unforgettable picture of an “ordinary” family caught up in the maelstrom that was China’s most recent century. Her narrative ranges across the entire length of China, to California and back again, to the battlefields of the Anti-Japanese War of Resistance and the brutal “struggle” sessions of the Cultural Revolution. But it always returns to this family’s home in Old Town, that archetypical, old-fashioned, and vanishing place steeped in the traditions of South China. Ms. Lin examines the inner strength that sustains people’s lives in their darkest hours, when religious and political faith falter. And yet, a vein of irony and droll humor runs through this powerful story. Lin Zhe’s novel may be understood as a love story, memoir, history, or allegory. For the non-Chinese reader it provides a rare and moving insight into Chinese lives in a century of fearsome upheaval.