Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Review: Apologies Forthcoming

I discovered the work of Xujun Eberlein a couple months ago when I came across her blog Inside-Out China. I found her writing style engaging and her stories interesting. This led me to obtain a copy of her short story collection, Apologies Forthcoming.

The collection of stories by Xujun Eberlein is intriguing; it draws the reader in with gracefully flowing prose and genuine character emotions. Xujun combines the ability to weave complex short stories with grand themes, filled with interesting characters that the reader wishes wouldn't depart at the end of each story.

Each of her stories centers on China during the Cultural Revolution and its aftermath--the politics of Red Guard factions, inserts in the countryside, and movement toward opening and reform. More importantly, the stories focus on the emotions of the characters. Most of the stories in Apologies Forthcoming deal with love and relationships; though they also discuss forbidden love and its dangers.

One quirk of Xujun's writing is the dialogue. It's not typical dialogue by American standards, but it is a close translation of Chinese speech, which helps to portray more of the culture to readers.

The culture she portrays and the time period in which it takes place makes this collection an important work for anyone with an interest in China and history, especially as many Chinese are unwilling to discuss what Xujun fictionalizes.

1 comment:

JA Huber said...

Hmm, sounds interesting and may have to check it out. BTW - I see you have "In Cold Blood" on your Amazon widget - I just saw "Capote" (the movie) on my snow day this week. Excellent - you should check it out if you haven't already. Gee, maybe I should post a review...