Literary Nonfiction. Essays. Asian & Asian American Studies. Taking Tang poet Bai Juyi's poem "Come in the middle of the night / Gone at the break of dawn / Come as a fleeting dream of spring / Gone as a morning cloud vanishing without a trace" as inspiration, MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT is The Best American Essays nominee HC Hsu's collection of award-winning personal essays from 2009-2014. Arranged by time written rather than date, these circadianly adrift essays explore love and sex, history and identity, hopes, nightmares, and other nocturnal joys and quotidian tyrannies haunting our sunlit existence.
From a ghost- hunting chronicle in a famed Buddhist temple in rural Japan, to childhood memories of night markets, ancestor worship and martial law in metropolitan Taipei; from praising Elfriede Jelinek's pitch-black contempt, to lambasting Christ's ideal of compassion; from a vignette on crying at night and other habits after dark, to a sustained somnambulant philosophical meditation on the ontological virtues of chicharrónes—a synchronicity emerges in these essays in the way they reveal the shadowy memories and experiences of a young 'Easterner' living in the 'West,' as well as of all those who consider themselves migrants, in the broadest sense, in the first light of a new dawn of globalization and diaspora.
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About the Author
HC Hsu is the author of the short story collection Love Is Sweeter (Lethe, 2013). Finalist for the Wendell Mayo Award and the South Pacific Review and The Austin Chronicle short story prizes, Third Prize Winner of the Memoir essay competition, First Place Winner of A Midsummer Tale Contest, and The Best American Essays Nominee, he has written for Words Without Borders, Two Lines, PRISM International, Renditions, Far Enough East, Cha, Pif, Big Bridge, Iodine, nthposition, 100 Word Story, China Daily News, Liberty Times, Epoch Times, and many others. He has served as translator for the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China, and his translation of 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo's biography Steel Gate to Freedom (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015) is now available.