Boy in the Twilight: Stories of the Hidden China (Paperback)
From the acclaimed author of Brothers and To Live: thirteen audacious stories that resonate with the beauty, grittiness, and exquisite irony of everyday life in China.
Yu Hua’s narrative gifts, populist voice, and inimitable wit have made him one of the most celebrated and best-selling writers in China. These flawlessly crafted stories—unflinching in their honesty, yet balanced with humor and compassion—take us into the small towns and dirt roads that are home to the people who make China run.
In the title story, a shopkeeper confronts a child thief and punishes him without mercy. “Victory” shows a young couple shaken by the husband’s infidelity, scrambling to stake claims to the components of their shared life. “Sweltering Summer” centers on an awkward young man who shrewdly uses the perks of his government position to court two women at once. Other tales show, by turns, two poor factory workers who spoil their only son, a gang of peasants who bully the village orphan, and a spectacular fistfight outside a refinery bathhouse. With sharp language and a keen eye, Yu Hua explores the line between cruelty and warmth on which modern China is—precariously, joyfully—balanced. Taken together, these stories form a timely snapshot of a nation lit with the deep feeling and ready humor that characterize its people. Already a sensation in Asia, certain to win recognition around the world, Yu Hua, in Boy in the Twilight, showcases the peerless gifts of a writer at the top of his form.
About the Author
Yu Hua is the author of five novels, six story collections, and four essay collections. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages. He has received many awards, including the James Joyce Award, France’s Prix Courrier International, and Italy’s Premio Grinzane Cavour. Yu Hua lives in Beijing.
Praise for Boy in the Twilight: Stories of the Hidden China…
“These are expertly drawn sketches of a time and a place, the people thoroughly recognizable.” —The Boston Globe
“[China’s] transformations and what they leave in their wake have become the central theme of Yu’s writing. . . . Many readers consider him China’s greatest living author.” —The Huffington Post
“Compelling. . . . Precise, elegant prose.” —The Economist
“Mesmerizing tales. . . . Showcases this acclaimed writer’s mastery.” —Elle
“Folktales cast in a modern-day setting. . . . [Yu] uses the soft patter of language to wash away at least some of the hardened surface, and enduring mystery, of human behavior.” —Time Out New York
“The stories in Yu Hua’s Boy in the Twilight mine the lives of ordinary folks in small-town China.” —Vanity Fair
“A Chinese writer noted for his ‘popular realism’ sketches a portrait of his country through fictional vignettes of everyday life.” —O, the Oprah Magazine
“Yu’s clear-eyed voice perfectly suits the lives of his characters, whose humanness we recognize, even as it makes us smile or, more often, flinch.” —The Plain Dealer
“How much happiness should one expect? How much security? How much adventure? What sorts of kitchen appliances, what kind of husband? . . . The stories in this collection . . . deal with the treachery latent in ordinary human relationships: marriages, friendships, professional contacts, and the bonds between parents and children. . . . Hua’s ‘hidden’ China . . . is one of regular people: not allegorical caricatures or media archetypes, but men and women struggling to sort out their lives in the early years of reform.” —Boston Review
“Yu Hua grabs his readers’ attention and keeps them guessing and involved till the very end. . . . Boy in the Twilight offers an enduring testimony to the power of the short story and its ability to convey epic themes through the point of a pen.” —The New York Journal of Books
“Yu delivers wonderful and vivid character portrayals. . . . He has exposed a darker, painful side of ordinary life in China and invited us to see things as they truly are—frightening both in their simplicity and their strength.” —South China Morning Post
“[Yu Hua] hones his recognizable minimalist craft to comic and tragic perfection, suffusing these brutally honest, philosophical pieces with compassion and cruel twists of sucker-punching irony that take the reader’s breath away.” —Shelf Awareness (starred)
“A standout collection from an international literary superstar.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Aficionados of the short form will savor these stories as both adroit literature and a sharp cultural lens. Appreciative readers of such diverse recent collections as Emma Donoghue’s Astray and Yoko Ogawa’s Revenge will want to add this title to waiting shelves.” —Library Journal (starred)