Cast with ordinary people and steeped in lyrical simplicity, Howard Goldblatt’s superb translation of Fu Ping commands a disarmingly quiet beauty. It is as if Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg had miraculously resurfaced, not in the cornfields of Ohio but in the shadows of Shanghai.

~Yunte Huang, editor of The Big Red Book of Modern Chinese Literature

In the past couple of weeks we’ve explored the work of women poets from East Asia and Russia and have traveled back in time to delve into the work of women writers in Japan’s Heian court. This week we’re taking a journey through Shanghai and the works of Wang Anyi as part of our month long feature celebrating Women in Translation Month. Wang is one of the leading figures of contemporary Chinese literature and is one of the great chroniclers of the city of Shanghai. Wang’s novel Fu Ping, which has just been published in English translation by Howard Goldblatt, follows a sharp-eyed young woman new to Shanghai from the countryside. The novel offers a keenly observed portrait of the lives of lower-class women in the early years of the People’s Republic of China. 

Check back throughout the week as we explore the city of Shanghai through the novel Fu Ping and the works of Wang Anyi. A guest post by Jie Li, author of the ethnography and memoir Shanghai Homes: Palimpsests of Private Life, ruminates on the importance of gossip in Shanghai and in Wang’s writing. In a Q&A Howard Goldbalatt reflects upon translating Wang Anyi and the place the city of Shanghai occupies in her writing. And, of course, we will share an excerpt from the newly published novel Fu Ping.

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