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Small Feet Were an Advantage

Yun Sheng: Eileen Chang, 1 August 2019

Little Reunions 
by Eileen Chang, translated by Jane Weizhen Pan and Martin Merz.
NYRB, 352 pp., £9.99, February 2019, 978 1 68137 127 6
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... Eileen Chang​ is probably the most talked about, studied and emulated writer in modern China. She made her debut as a prodigy in the 1940s in Japanese-occupied Shanghai. After she emigrated to the US in the 1950s, she was canonised in the 1960s by C.T. Hsia in his History of Modern Chinese Fiction, where he called her the ‘best and most important writer’ in mid-20th-century China ...


Yun Sheng: Mai Jia, 11 September 2014

Decoded: A Novel 
by Mai Jia, translated by Olivia Milburn and Christopher Payne.
Allen Lane, 315 pp., £18.99, March 2014, 978 0 14 139147 2
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... Chinese authors Penguin has published in the last ten years, including Qian Zhongshu, Lu Xun and Eileen Chang. All the same, if Anglophone readers are after a Chinese spy novel, Xiao Bai’s historically rich French Concession, set in 1930s Shanghai, will be published by Harper Collins next year, and is a better bet than Mai Jia’s potboiler. Perry ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Lust, Caution’, 24 January 2008

Lust, Caution 
directed by Ang Lee.
October 2007
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... college theatre (‘a string of rousingly patriotic history plays’ is the phrase in the story by Eileen Chang on which the movie is based), decide to shift into the drama of real life, and infiltrate the house of Mr Yee (Tony Leung, last seen, by me at least, in Infernal Affairs), head of intelligence for the Japanese sponsored puppet government. One of ...

Mauve Monkeys

William Fiennes, 18 September 1997

Wilde’s Last Stand: Decadence, Conspiracy and the First World War 
by Philip Hoare.
Duckworth, 250 pp., £16.95, July 1997, 0 7156 2737 6
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... to a point’; Antonio Gandarillas, ‘the opium-addicted bisexual aristocrat’; Brilliant Chang, ‘the emblematic Dope King and white slaver, corrupter of British maidenhood’; the Marchesa Casati, who appeared at parties surrounded by ‘albino blackbirds, mauve monkeys, a leopard, a boa constrictor, and, among Englishmen, Lord Berners’. The ...

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