A modern woman adrift in modern China. Would-be lovers connected and separated by random chance. A drunken dissident and his less-then-happy minder. A researcher of war atrocities who must come to grips with her own family tragedies. A princess of a kingdom that no longer exists. Actors placed at the service of comedies and tragedies, depending on a filmmaker’s whim… These are the characters that populate Ho Lin’s short story collection China Girl.
In its nine tales, China Girl documents the collisions between East and West, the power of myth and the burden of history, and loves lost and almost found. The stories in this collection encompass everything from contemporary vignettes about urban life to fable-like musings on memories and the art of storytelling. Wide-ranging and playful, China Girl is a journey into today’s Asia as well as an Asia of the imagination.
|Publisher:||Regent Press Printers & Publishers|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.49(d)|
About the Author
Ho Lin: www.holinauthor.com
Caveat Lector: www.caveat-lector.org
Table of Contents
1. China Girl . . . 1
2. Blood-Stained Heroes . . . 21
3. Floating World: A Film Treatment . . . 39
4. Ghost Wife . . . 59
5. Litany, Eulogy . . . 67
6. National Holiday . . . 95
7. Tableau . . . 141
8. Trio . . . 149
9. Charge . . . 179
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Skyler Boudreau for Reader Views (11/17) “China Girl: And Other Stories” by Ho Lin is a collection of nine short stories that range from contemporary vignettes to urban fables. The reader explores stories that range from the title piece that details a young woman’s haunting experiences while roaming Beijing, to a film treatment about four people interconnected by a fifth. Each story embraces its climate, whether it be Los Angeles, Hong Kong, or Beijing, embowing its tale with an immersive atmosphere that sucks the reader in. Ho Lin is a master of painting miniature worlds. The entire collection is a map of tiny collisions, spanning from Eastern versus Western culture to history versus myth. While each piece is unique, Lin’s impressive storytelling weaves them together to build a unique tapestry. His prose is simple, reading almost like a documentation written by an outside observer, and the style lends itself well to each story. “China Girl” is the first piece to be encountered. It draws the reader in with its casual descriptions of tragedy and a strange protagonist. It is the perfect opening to the anthology and lets the reader know exactly what to expect: a dream-like journey through culture. I had some reservations entering this anthology. I find it difficult to engage with short stories sometimes. Some are too short to leave me feeling satisfied, while others drone on without saying much of anything. “China Girl: And Other Stories” is the first to hold my complete attention in a long time. I would recommend it to anyone who has the same problems as I do. I’ve read far too many collections of pieces that seem thrown together only because they couldn’t survive as stories individually. Ho Lin doesn’t do that. Each of his short stories holds up well on its own, and forming a collection only strengthens each of them. That makes “China Girl: And Other Stories: a perfect example of what an anthology should be.
"She hates the David Bowie song...How could anyone think of that as a beautiful Chinese girl?" So thinks May Lee, the exotic dancer whose story is told in the eponymous opening story of the collection "China Girl," whose characters move, often ambiguously, between East and West, belonging to neither and both. San Francisco, Hong Kong, and Beijing all appear as part of the same cultural and geographical continuum, as well as little seaside towns in which human and political tragedies play out. The stories of "China Girl" are delicately yet vigorously crafted--each one shows meticulous construction, with subtle details and close attention given to the characters' internal states, but with the inclusion of plenty of earthy action as well: people eat, meet, break up, fight, die, and make love (or fail to make love) in vignettes that suggest something beyond the beginning, middle, and end of the story in question. And in fact, while I would hesitate to label this collection as "metaphysical," "visionary," or "otherworldly" exactly, there certainly are ghosts, of both the literal and figurative kind, who add a layer of complexity to the situations the characters must negotiate. Like a delicious meal made up of multiple dishes, this story collection is rich in multiple flavors without being overwhelming, and well worth reading for anyone looking for some contemporary literary/multicultural short fiction. My thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.