The Past and the Punishments: Eight Stories by Yu Hua (Fiction from Modern China series) / ISBN 9780824817824 / discounted hard cover in like new condition
This is the first collection short fiction by Yu Hua to appear in English. It takes us on a haunting and harrowing journey from classical China through the Cultural Revolution and into the new era of economic reform, exploding along the way our preconceived notions of what Chinese literature and culture are all about in the 1990s.
It is no wonder that Yu Hua’s stories caused a sensation when they first appeared in the 1980s. His work represents a sophisticated and often disturbing revolution in the Chinese literary tradition, reminiscent of the fiction of modernists like Kafka, Kawabata, Borges, and Robbe-Grillet, but drawing inspiration from several strains of traditional Chinese narrative as well.
To travel through these stories is to cross a landscape of stunning beauty and terrific cruelty, where expectations are subverted, where moral certainties are shattered, where gorgeously wrought surfaces beguile at the same time that acts of incredible brutality horrify.