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A collection of English translations of major stories of the Chinese author Lu Xun. When I was young I, too, had many dreams. Most of them came to be forgotten, but I see nothing in this to regret. For although recalling the past may make you happy, it may sometimes also make you lonely, and there is no point in clinging in spirit to lonely bygone days. However, my trouble A collection of English translations of major stories of the Chinese author Lu Xun. When I was young I, too, had many dreams. Most of them came to be forgotten, but I see nothing in this to regret. For although recalling the past may make you happy, it may sometimes also make you lonely, and there is no point in clinging in spirit to lonely bygone days. However, my trouble is that I cannot forget completely, and these stories have resulted from what I have been unable to erase from my memory.


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A collection of English translations of major stories of the Chinese author Lu Xun. When I was young I, too, had many dreams. Most of them came to be forgotten, but I see nothing in this to regret. For although recalling the past may make you happy, it may sometimes also make you lonely, and there is no point in clinging in spirit to lonely bygone days. However, my trouble A collection of English translations of major stories of the Chinese author Lu Xun. When I was young I, too, had many dreams. Most of them came to be forgotten, but I see nothing in this to regret. For although recalling the past may make you happy, it may sometimes also make you lonely, and there is no point in clinging in spirit to lonely bygone days. However, my trouble is that I cannot forget completely, and these stories have resulted from what I have been unable to erase from my memory.

30 review for Selected Stories of Lu Hsun, Fiction, Short Stories

  1. 5 out of 5

    J.M. Hushour

    "I suppose money cannot be taken into hell, so as soon as he died, he turned into an honest ghost." Lu Xun is one of the brilliant essayists; I rank him up there with Orwell and Benjamin. In some ways, he surpasses them because he is so darn funny. Whether he is writing about the collapse of the Leifeng Pagoda as a symbol for all kinds of absurd social issues, or the phrase "Fuck your mother!" (the true English equivalent) in China as a kind of analytical trope, Lu Xun never ceases to entertain. "I suppose money cannot be taken into hell, so as soon as he died, he turned into an honest ghost." Lu Xun is one of the brilliant essayists; I rank him up there with Orwell and Benjamin. In some ways, he surpasses them because he is so darn funny. Whether he is writing about the collapse of the Leifeng Pagoda as a symbol for all kinds of absurd social issues, or the phrase "Fuck your mother!" (the true English equivalent) in China as a kind of analytical trope, Lu Xun never ceases to entertain. Fed up with basically every side, party, and idiotic academic in warlord-torn China of the 1920s, Lu rips pretty much everyone a new one. He is refreshing, unaccomodating and unassuming. No one is immune from his withering diatribes, turning his pen even on himself: "If we call the immature works of young people 'miscarriages', then mine are just 'abortions'." Lu Xun hates writing, and writes about that, too: he does it out of necessity, a message that hits home with much force even today reminding us that "No matter how cunning the devil is, he will have to go back to his own hell."

  2. 5 out of 5

    Fulya İçöz

    The first time I read Lu Xun was 20 years ago, when I was a teenager. I remember liking his verisimilitude. This collection of his short stories also talk about rural china & criticism of feudal society. My favourite stories are Diary of a Madman and Soap by far. Some of the stories are so distant and difficult to grasp since I don't know the history of China very well. The first time I read Lu Xun was 20 years ago, when I was a teenager. I remember liking his verisimilitude. This collection of his short stories also talk about rural china & criticism of feudal society. My favourite stories are Diary of a Madman and Soap by far. Some of the stories are so distant and difficult to grasp since I don't know the history of China very well.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Madhav Sinha

    I had come across 'the true story of Ah Q' way back in 1980s when I was privileged to see the Bengali theatre adaptation "Jagannath". Almost immediately I borrowed a selection of his stories in Bengali "LU HSUNer nirvachit galpo" edited and translated by Sandip Sengupta (Katha o Kahini) and read all the stories. The very first story in the book was 'dairy of a madman' and the seventh story was 'the true storey of Ah Q'. Thereafter I bought every LU XUN (or LU HSUN as he was known then) books I cou I had come across 'the true story of Ah Q' way back in 1980s when I was privileged to see the Bengali theatre adaptation "Jagannath". Almost immediately I borrowed a selection of his stories in Bengali "LU HSUNer nirvachit galpo" edited and translated by Sandip Sengupta (Katha o Kahini) and read all the stories. The very first story in the book was 'dairy of a madman' and the seventh story was 'the true storey of Ah Q'. Thereafter I bought every LU XUN (or LU HSUN as he was known then) books I could lay my hands on. Of course courtesy Foreign Languages Press, Peking (Beijing), they were affordable (not as affordable as the Progress Publishers books, but still, affordable for students earning on the sly with one or two tutions). His stories, prose poems, essays all are so simply written that even bad translators couldn't kill their flavour. In variably, the English translations were barely passable, but the Bengali translations used to be pretty good. I don't know Chinese and don't know if any of the Bengali translators knew Chinese. Having a look at the LU Xun books on my self, I find: (FLP - Foreign Languages Press, E - English) 1. Call to Arms (FLP - E) 2. Old Tales Retold (FLP - E) 3. Wild Grass (FLP - E) 4. Wandering (FLP - E) 5. Dawn Blossoms Plucked at Dusk (FLP - E) 6. Selected Stories of LU HSUN (FLP - E) 7. Selected Essays (Ed. Samar Ghosh, BENGALI) 8. Selected Stories (BENGALI) I had read all his available books. All these books still remain with me - literally and figuratively!!!

  4. 4 out of 5

    David

    A laudable collection of short stories. As with any collection, there are some standouts. Lu Xun's most famous works are "A Madman's Diary" and "The True Story of Ah-Q," and for good reason. Both had me cackling with delight. "Forging the Swords" was delightful as well - the climactic scene will stay with you for a very long time. I was also quite moved by "The New Year's Sacrifice." A laudable collection of short stories. As with any collection, there are some standouts. Lu Xun's most famous works are "A Madman's Diary" and "The True Story of Ah-Q," and for good reason. Both had me cackling with delight. "Forging the Swords" was delightful as well - the climactic scene will stay with you for a very long time. I was also quite moved by "The New Year's Sacrifice."

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sophie

    Great collection. The last story, "Forging the Swords" was totally amazing. "A summer night is short." "At such times even every inch of yearn she spun seemed worthwhile and alive." "Old Mrs. Ninepounder, who was in a towering temper, whacked the legs of her stool with a tattered plantain fan." "You know how it was in the time of the Long Hairs: keep your hair and lose your head; keep your head and lose your hair..." "When Mrs. Sevenpounder heard that it was written down in a book, she really gave u Great collection. The last story, "Forging the Swords" was totally amazing. "A summer night is short." "At such times even every inch of yearn she spun seemed worthwhile and alive." "Old Mrs. Ninepounder, who was in a towering temper, whacked the legs of her stool with a tattered plantain fan." "You know how it was in the time of the Long Hairs: keep your hair and lose your head; keep your head and lose your hair..." "When Mrs. Sevenpounder heard that it was written down in a book, she really gave up all hope." "At this point a strange picture suddenly flashed into my mind: a golden moon suspended in a deep blue sky and beneath it the seashore, planted as far as the eye could see with jade-green watermelons..." "When I was child there was a Mrs. Yang who used to sit nearly all day long in the beancurd shop across the road, and everybody used to call her Beancurd Beauty." "I only felt that all round me was an invisible high wall, cutting me off from my fellows, and this depressed me thoroughly." "He would look over the offender, and if it were someone weak in repartee he would curse him, while if it were a poor fighter he would hit him." "The next day he would go to work with swollen eyes." "'Are your bones itching?' demanded Whiskers Wang, standing up too and putting on his coat." "Ah Q would not have been bewitched by her; nor would this have happened if the little nun's face had been covered by a cloth." "Now though Ah Q had always had the greatest contempt for such people as little nuns, there are times when "'Discretion is the better part of valor."' "Mr. Chao did not agree, saying that he might bear a grudge, and that in a business like this it was probably a case of 'the eagle does not prey on its own nest.'" "He supposed that in this world it was the fate of everybody at some time to be dragged in a and out of prison, and to have to draw circles on paper; it was only because his circle had not been round that he felt there was a stain on his reputation. Presently, however, he regained composure by thinking, 'Only idiots can make perfect circles.' And with this thought he fell asleep." "Four years before, at the foot of the mountain, he had met a hungry wolf which had followed him at a set distance, wanting to eat him." "But the night air was so brisk, it went right through me. This seemed to be the first time I had known such good air in Peking." "The boat seemed like a great white fish carrying a freight of children on its back through the foam." "If he did scold us we would ask him to return the pine branch he had taken the previous year from the river bank, and call him "Old Scabby" to his face." "'I am not sure' is a most useful phrase." "After experiencing many time that things which I hoped would not happen and felt should not happen invariably did happen, I was desperately afraid this would prove another such case." "So although questions kept rising to the tip of my tongue, I had to bite them back." "It was really a bolt from the blue." "saw the glow of the yellow oil lamp as large as a bean." "That night, although indigestion kept me from sleeping well and I had a series of nightmares, I still wished her a lifetime of happiness, and hoped the world would change for the better for her sake." "Sometimes she even cried all night, until Chang Fu lost his temper and scolded her, saying she had waited too long to marry and had gone mad." "Even if a high wall were built round this family, still the air could scarcely be kept separate." "His head seemed to be bursting as if filled to the brim with sharp faggots." "Nevertheless he persevered, and pursued his train of thought distractedly" "...the man is a writer; the woman is also a writer, or else a lover of literature. Or else the woman is a poetess; the man is a lover of poetry, a respecter of womanhood." "The master's study is apart, its wall lined with bookshelves; there are naturally no cabbages there." "He must still be studying dead books." "Before long, the broad leaves of the evergreen which was the only potted plant they had were swallowed up in the darkness, and stars twinkled between white clouds whic looked like torn cotton." "As a result, probably, of reading Yu Dafu's romantic stories, they constantly referred to themselves as "the young unfortunate" or "the outcast"; and, sprawling on the big chairs like lazy and arrogant crabs, they would sigh, smoke and frown all at the same time." "The life of one who created loneliness for herself and tasted its bitterness." "Feeling cheerless, but by no means sad" "then, somehow, I was out of the gate." "What did she care about the half pot of face cream or the flattened nose tip?" "There was the never-ending business of eating everyday." "As the words left my mouth I could not free myself from the suspicion that there was an unseen urchin behind me maliciously parroting all I said." "There are many ways open to me, and I must take one of them because I am still living. I don't know, though, how to take the first step. Sometimes the road seem like a great, grey serpent, writhing and darting at me. I wait and wait and watch it approach, but it always disappears suddenly in the darkness." "'Noodles with crow sauce again! Noodles with crow sauce again! I'd like to know who else eats nothing but noodles with crow sauce from one year to the next? How ill-fated I was to marry you and eat noodles with crow sauce the whole year round!'" "But on rising after noon the next day the king was in a bad mood again. By the time lunch was over, he was furious. 'I'm bored!' he cried with a great yawn." "A smile was on its face. Its tangled hair was like faint blue smoke." "But even as they trembled, they knew a secret joy." "They retrieved a tangled mass of white hair and black hair, and several spoonfuls of some shorter hair, no doubt from white and black mustaches. Then another skull. Then three hairpins."

  6. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    Lu Xun's stories read as if they were written by a talented amateur, someone who had no training or expert assistance in what is a very subtle craft. The result is writing that is unsophisticated and somewhat plain, but still powerful. The story he is most famous for, "The True Story of Ah Q" is one of my least favorite. I first read it for a class called "Classics of Chinese Humanities," and even with some background in Chinese history (courtesy ChinaX) it still leaves me flat. I do like his ot Lu Xun's stories read as if they were written by a talented amateur, someone who had no training or expert assistance in what is a very subtle craft. The result is writing that is unsophisticated and somewhat plain, but still powerful. The story he is most famous for, "The True Story of Ah Q" is one of my least favorite. I first read it for a class called "Classics of Chinese Humanities," and even with some background in Chinese history (courtesy ChinaX) it still leaves me flat. I do like his other famous story, "A Madman's Diary," and a number of the more Chekhov-like stories. Some cultural context is helpful in reading these. Compassion for poor people even more so.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Wallace

    Lu Xun (1881-1936) was the first modern Chinese writer, and perhaps the greatest Chinese writer of the 20th century. Unlike Chinese writers before him, he rejected traditional, formal literary styles and used the modern Chinese dialect to write his stories. As a writer, he was also an insightful and sometimes scathing social critic. He sought to use literature to bring to light the problems in China, and bring social change. Like many in the pre-War Chinese intelligentsia, Lu was a revolutionary, Lu Xun (1881-1936) was the first modern Chinese writer, and perhaps the greatest Chinese writer of the 20th century. Unlike Chinese writers before him, he rejected traditional, formal literary styles and used the modern Chinese dialect to write his stories. As a writer, he was also an insightful and sometimes scathing social critic. He sought to use literature to bring to light the problems in China, and bring social change. Like many in the pre-War Chinese intelligentsia, Lu was a revolutionary, even though he never joined the Communist Party. Because he was a revolutionary and because of his sharp comments on pre-Revolutionary China, he is by far the most revered modern writer in China, and millions of schoolchildren are forced to memorize large sections of his work. At the same time, many if not most of the observations he made more than eighty years ago are still true of China today. This basic contradiction has caused many to de-emphasize his works, and he is less popular and less read in China nowadays than he was in previous generations. Indeed, some schools have even stopped teaching him. None of this should put off Western readers. Anyone who wants to understand modern China should begin with the stories in this volume. Some of these works, such as "Medicine" and "My Old Home" are full of great and haunting literary beauty. Others, such as "The True Story of Ah Q" (his most famous work), will be more difficult for Western readers to get a handle on, but are nevertheless worthwhile to read and study. The main quibble with this collection is that it is a reprinting of the 1960 translation by the husband and wife team of Yang Hsien-yi and Gladys Yang. There is no question that their translation is technically accurate, and both were distinguished scholars in their own right. However, Gladys used her not inconsiderable writing skills to polish and improve upon Lu Xun's work. In essence, she tried to make the writing pretty. This would be like filtering the work of Ernest Hemingway through the lens of a Victorian poet. In Chinese, Lu's writing style is direct, simple, and immediate. Gladys's efforts on the other hand are too often verbose, literary, and quaint. I fully realize that I have jumped into a bed of fire-ants by offering this assessment. Many, many Chinese people view Gladys Yang's translation as the received text in English, perhaps because the writing style is beautiful. However, stylistically, she did Lu Xun no favors, and most modern readers will find her old-fashioned writing style a distraction. There is a new translation published by Penguin (The Real Story of Ah-Q and Other Tales of China: The Complete Fiction of Lu Xun) , but I have not had a chance to read it so I cannot vouch for its quality. While I would certainly recommend reading the works of Lu Xun, a reader might do well to try out the other translation.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tolliver

    Lu Xun's heartbreakingly stark prose reflects the pain as well as the iconoclasm and creativity of a generation faced with impossible choices: “during the last thirty years with my own eyes I have seen the blood of so many young people mounting up that now I am submerged and cannot breathe.” (p. 276, The Gate of Heavenly Peace). Young patriots risked everything for their ideals; the old sat comfortably at home and wrote the eulogies of young patriots. Marxism provided a bridge between intellectu Lu Xun's heartbreakingly stark prose reflects the pain as well as the iconoclasm and creativity of a generation faced with impossible choices: “during the last thirty years with my own eyes I have seen the blood of so many young people mounting up that now I am submerged and cannot breathe.” (p. 276, The Gate of Heavenly Peace). Young patriots risked everything for their ideals; the old sat comfortably at home and wrote the eulogies of young patriots. Marxism provided a bridge between intellectual and peasant, young and old, and leftist writers like Lu Xun and Qu Qubai combined love of China with a recognition of the need for fundamental reforms. Yet contradictions abounded: while they believed that intellectuals held responsibility as artists and leaders, they doubted the legitimacy of art produced by the bourgeoisie. (p. 289, “Willing in the Face of Necessity.”) In the preface to Two Hearts, Lu Xun mocked the “flawed character of the middle-class intellectual” who acts “like a snail, with the weight of the world’s suffering on [his] back.” China’s intellectuals felt that it was their responsibility to lead China’s awakening, and yet they used a language 'the people' could not understand. Lu Xun's prose may not have been entirely comprehensible to all within his lifetime, but the language reforms he championed and the works he left behind came to define the May Fourth generation, and indeed China's long, strange 20th century.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Beth Cato

    I read this for research purposes and found it very useful in that regard, though overall it's not a book that I liked. However, Lu Hsun must be looked at within the context of the time period in which he wrote: around 1920, in China. The particular edition of the book that I have was actually printed in China in the late 1970s; the author apparently later became a favorite of the communist party and Mao Zhedong. Some of the stories are in a more feudal setting, while others are quite clearly con I read this for research purposes and found it very useful in that regard, though overall it's not a book that I liked. However, Lu Hsun must be looked at within the context of the time period in which he wrote: around 1920, in China. The particular edition of the book that I have was actually printed in China in the late 1970s; the author apparently later became a favorite of the communist party and Mao Zhedong. Some of the stories are in a more feudal setting, while others are quite clearly contemporary. The day-to-day life details are fantastic: what they ate, how they dressed, but people behaved toward one another. The portrayals of women were... dismal. There is a recurring theme of wives abandoning their husbands, and just being generally unpleasant. Again, though, this has to be regarded in context. If this had been a modern book, I would have stopped reading early on.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Eric Hinkle

    A collection of mostly-brilliant stories from this legend (said to be the most famous Chinese author of the modern age). It's interesting that aside from this collection, he doesn't have many more fictional works of note. He was mainly an essayist, and it's remarkable that these stories really don't give the impression of being written by such an author. It's a testament to his (underused) creative powers that his few stories have had such a lasting impact. "Regret of the Past" is one of the mor A collection of mostly-brilliant stories from this legend (said to be the most famous Chinese author of the modern age). It's interesting that aside from this collection, he doesn't have many more fictional works of note. He was mainly an essayist, and it's remarkable that these stories really don't give the impression of being written by such an author. It's a testament to his (underused) creative powers that his few stories have had such a lasting impact. "Regret of the Past" is one of the more heartbreakingly believable failed-love stories I've read. In fact, most of these stories have some sense of subtle, yet deep melancholy. Right up my alley!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    This collection of short stories is Lu Xun’s way of expressing his frustration and criticism of Chinese society. He comments on multiple aspects of Chinese society, many of which I can’t even guess. ;) But I do know some, but frankly, it’s boring to write so I’ll share only my favorite (the one I wrote an essay on!) of Lu Xun’s many purposes. Lu Xun divides the Chinese people of his time into three distinct groups—all of which he criticizes. The first division –and the group he hates the most-- This collection of short stories is Lu Xun’s way of expressing his frustration and criticism of Chinese society. He comments on multiple aspects of Chinese society, many of which I can’t even guess. ;) But I do know some, but frankly, it’s boring to write so I’ll share only my favorite (the one I wrote an essay on!) of Lu Xun’s many purposes. Lu Xun divides the Chinese people of his time into three distinct groups—all of which he criticizes. The first division –and the group he hates the most-- are the blinded, beastlike Chinese people who ignore change in society. The second group is all the ignorant, foolish people who reject change. The third and final group is the revolutionaries, who he shows are foolish and dying for a lost cause. Yet, he sympathizes with them because he thinks they are noble in their attempts at change. My favorite short story within this collection is “A Madman’s Diary.” The reason I like this story so much is its fantastic symbolism. (view spoiler)[ Essentially, the main character is a madman... he is overcome with paranoia. This man believes that everyone has gone crazy but him—they have become cannibals. This one man vs. the crazy world, the idea of people eating people, symbolizes Lu Xun’s belief that Chinese traditions are suffocating its people. I love that symbolism because it's so direct and true to the theme! :) (hide spoiler)] It’s odd, because Lu Xun is very pessimistic towards revolutionaries’ fates in China. Nevertheless, he wrote this revolutionary book, so he must have some hope for a revolution. He’s a torn man, but so are we all... Another interesting aspect of Lu Xun is the fact that Chinese communists use him as a poster child for their revolution. Once again, it’s funny, because he’s not a communist. He wrote primarily about the 1920s and 1930s in China and died long the communists came on the scene. There is little doubt that if Lu Xun was alive during communist rule, he would not be revered, but suppressed. Communism has little room for critical and satirizing writers like Lu Xun. So though Lu Xun would not be a communist, communists like to say so because the people love him for his revolutionary writing. I guess those Chinese communists do what they want…. p.s. Lu Xun is a pen name! His real name is Zhou Shuren, but everyone still refers to him as Lu Xun.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ethan Cramer-Flood

    Lu Hsun is a mammoth figure in Chinse literature. He mostly wrote in the 1910s and 1920s and he was as much a giant in his time as he is today. A notorious reformer who advocated for an end to imperial governance, Hsun generally sided with the communists over the nationalists during China's turbulent transitional period. More importantly, he revolutionized prose in the Middle Kingdom. Hsun was the first author to write in and popularize the vernacular form in fiction. Before Hsun, average Chines Lu Hsun is a mammoth figure in Chinse literature. He mostly wrote in the 1910s and 1920s and he was as much a giant in his time as he is today. A notorious reformer who advocated for an end to imperial governance, Hsun generally sided with the communists over the nationalists during China's turbulent transitional period. More importantly, he revolutionized prose in the Middle Kingdom. Hsun was the first author to write in and popularize the vernacular form in fiction. Before Hsun, average Chinese could hardly read or understand classical stories and Chinese mythology because they were written in a form only scholars could comprehend. Hsun wrote in such a way that the common man could recognize, and had his characters speak similarly. For this he is widely credited in China as being the godfather of modern Chinese literature. He is seen as the man most responsible for dragging Chinese letters into the modern era. Ironically, he never wrote a novel. And the grand total of his short stories amount to only two books worth of collections. I chose this volume because it contains his two or three most famous works (such as "A Madman's Diary" and "The True Story of Ah Q"). I'm glad I did, because now I will recognize references to Hsun's archetypes that have become a part of the Chinese language, and the many movies, TV shows, and non-fiction accounts of his life and stories that permeate the culture. But is it the best collection of short works I've ever read? No. I imagine that in its time and place it was earthshaking stuff, but coming from a different era and a different culture, Hsun's writing falls short of greatness to my eyes. Some of his stories are universal, but many speak directly to China and the Chinese, to the detriment of any outsider trying to understand what his characters are doing and why. Many stories seem quite stuck in their time and place. Still, it was worth my time.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Michael Haase

    What makes Lu Xun one of my favorite writers is his brevity and subtlety. While other writers of his time felt they needed massive volumes of text in order to describe their ideas, he was able to provoke change with stories as short as 4 pages, sometimes even less. This he accomplished by embedding double-meanings into the objects of his stories. Through Lu Xun's writing, the simple act of cannibalism is broadened to infer an entire manner of ideology throughout history; a piece of soap can beco What makes Lu Xun one of my favorite writers is his brevity and subtlety. While other writers of his time felt they needed massive volumes of text in order to describe their ideas, he was able to provoke change with stories as short as 4 pages, sometimes even less. This he accomplished by embedding double-meanings into the objects of his stories. Through Lu Xun's writing, the simple act of cannibalism is broadened to infer an entire manner of ideology throughout history; a piece of soap can become a representation of authority; even something as basic as a person falling down can have profound implications. Lu Xun's stories are the perfect example of taught fiction, of the "Chekhov's Gun" principle, that every minute element is in someway important to the themes and morals of the story. These stories range from the wildly humorous Madman's Diary, to the the pensive and nostalgic Regret for the past. Though they mostly reside in the genre of realism, the last two stories dabble in the fantastic. Each story has a political side which ties them to the Chinese society of the past, but also contain a pathos and psychological depth which makes them universal and timeless. Seriously, I can't describe how happy I am to read eloquence such as this, compacted in truly short stories as they were here. I loathe reading those massive classic French and Russian tomes like Monte Cristo, The Red and the Black , and Anna Karenina because they demand so much sacrifice! Writers need to understand, more is less and less is more.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

    As with all of Lu Hsun's work, he uses the short stories in this collection to criticize the society he lives in. I haven't read all of the short stories. The stories I read are "Kung-I-Chi", "Medicine", "Storm in a Teacup" and "Soap". In "Kung-I-Chi", the title character clearly seems to have been a member of the elite until he failed his exams; causing him to become unemployable and someone to be mocked and laughed at by the rest of society. "Medicine" is the story of a family with a sick chil As with all of Lu Hsun's work, he uses the short stories in this collection to criticize the society he lives in. I haven't read all of the short stories. The stories I read are "Kung-I-Chi", "Medicine", "Storm in a Teacup" and "Soap". In "Kung-I-Chi", the title character clearly seems to have been a member of the elite until he failed his exams; causing him to become unemployable and someone to be mocked and laughed at by the rest of society. "Medicine" is the story of a family with a sick child and the reprecussions of the supposed 'cure'. The cure is requires human sacrifice, but, by the story's conclusion, we learn that not all is as it appears to be. "Storm in a Teacup" and "Soap" were a bit odd. Women and children, especially children, were mistreated in "Storm in a Teacup", but there seems to be no clear plot and the ending was a bit flat. "Soap" was a better story. It had a clear, well-developed plot, but I don't really understand what criticism Lu Xun was trying to make. The main male character in the story criticized the education his son was getting.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Pam

    This book was checked out for an online class. Unfortunately, I couldn't complete the class, as the Chinese classics are not available in my local library and I was unable to find an alternate source that was affordable. Was able to check this out, and it was astounding. Stories were short, heavy with dialogue, and very little back-story. Just enough internal monologue to gauge the emotion-state of the character. They include snippets, snapshots--like having lunch with an old friend after having This book was checked out for an online class. Unfortunately, I couldn't complete the class, as the Chinese classics are not available in my local library and I was unable to find an alternate source that was affordable. Was able to check this out, and it was astounding. Stories were short, heavy with dialogue, and very little back-story. Just enough internal monologue to gauge the emotion-state of the character. They include snippets, snapshots--like having lunch with an old friend after having fallen on hard times, and also longer stories that were able to capture the rise and fall of individuals along with the rise and fall of new dynasties or prominence of temporary warlords who came for fealty and 'contributions'--or worse. Much of the cultural and historical references went over my head, I fear. I have read the I Ching, some religious and medical texts that had translations from the Chinese into English, but those are formal writings. Reading the informal short stories was a new genre for me which I very much enjoyed.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Molly

    I think, if I read these stories individually, scattered--an anthology, The New Yorker--I would have enjoyed the little slivers of Lu Hsun, but in a collection, there was something relentless, as if I was starting over with each story, one about a child lost to illness, then another, about adults failing to conform and coppers and dirt roads. Perhaps it was my approach; I should have saved these as one story every few weeks, but I cannot read this way--if a book lingers at my bedside table, it i I think, if I read these stories individually, scattered--an anthology, The New Yorker--I would have enjoyed the little slivers of Lu Hsun, but in a collection, there was something relentless, as if I was starting over with each story, one about a child lost to illness, then another, about adults failing to conform and coppers and dirt roads. Perhaps it was my approach; I should have saved these as one story every few weeks, but I cannot read this way--if a book lingers at my bedside table, it is often because it is too good, or that it is thick and rich and I need a sleeping toddler in order to focus, that I think the book is deserving of such focus. But in this case, I just felt I needed to move on. This isn't to discount the individual gems, but even the introduction by Ha Jin reflects isn't glowing.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Arturo

    A good book if you were ever interested in foreign authors, the fact that it is a collection of short stories is great for those of you who don't want to jump in with two feet into an entire book. some of the stories read a bit like fables--were the characters are not as fully developed as characters are as today. i imagine certain things get lost in translation but, this isn't necessarily a bad thing, it is just a different style of writing [which i found refreshing after reading herman melvill A good book if you were ever interested in foreign authors, the fact that it is a collection of short stories is great for those of you who don't want to jump in with two feet into an entire book. some of the stories read a bit like fables--were the characters are not as fully developed as characters are as today. i imagine certain things get lost in translation but, this isn't necessarily a bad thing, it is just a different style of writing [which i found refreshing after reading herman melville's moby dick] this is true for "the true story of ah q" which i personally liked and it is the short story that is most associated with lu hsun.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    Reading Lu Xun is a must for anyone who studies modern Chinese history like I do. While the English translations get at the fact that Lu Xun was indeed the first modern literature writer in Chinese history, they cannot capture some of the beauty (in my opinion) of the original Chinese. The traditional background of Lu Xun is lost in simple English translation. When you read in the original Chinese, you know Lu Xun's educational and literary background comes through with his word choice and the t Reading Lu Xun is a must for anyone who studies modern Chinese history like I do. While the English translations get at the fact that Lu Xun was indeed the first modern literature writer in Chinese history, they cannot capture some of the beauty (in my opinion) of the original Chinese. The traditional background of Lu Xun is lost in simple English translation. When you read in the original Chinese, you know Lu Xun's educational and literary background comes through with his word choice and the topics he chooses to write about. That being said, this is a great collection to introduce students to his writing.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Some stories are definitely better than others, and if you don't read Ha Jin's introduction, a lot is lost. Furthermore, if you don't know other context, it can also radically take away from the experience. But this is one of the most important, influential authors in Chinese history today because Mao really liked him. Many of his stories strongly affect Chinese society, and even an abbreviated version of Kung Yichi was featured in a textbook of mine. Kung Yichi in particular really moved me, but Some stories are definitely better than others, and if you don't read Ha Jin's introduction, a lot is lost. Furthermore, if you don't know other context, it can also radically take away from the experience. But this is one of the most important, influential authors in Chinese history today because Mao really liked him. Many of his stories strongly affect Chinese society, and even an abbreviated version of Kung Yichi was featured in a textbook of mine. Kung Yichi in particular really moved me, but others were very good as well. I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Maryam AL-Ghafri

    " my old home and " A" small incident " are two short stories I have read from this story collection by lu Xun. Both stories try to show the economic division can causes social and cultural differences. Economic division relates to monastery division within society . The difference between the rich, middle class, and the poor. for example in " my old home" the main character meets his childhood friend after 20 years. His friend started to call him " Master" because he become a rich person. " my old home and " A" small incident " are two short stories I have read from this story collection by lu Xun. Both stories try to show the economic division can causes social and cultural differences. Economic division relates to monastery division within society . The difference between the rich, middle class, and the poor. for example in " my old home" the main character meets his childhood friend after 20 years. His friend started to call him " Master" because he become a rich person.

  21. 4 out of 5

    E.

    A compelling collection of short stories from early 20th century China. Most are realist depictions of life, often for those on the margins (Mao admired Lu Hsun). A couple are more fantastical. There are some a haunting scenes--such as when an adolescent boy keeps changing his mind as to whether he is killing or saving a rat who has kept him awake at night and has fallen into a pot of water. For my 2017 effort to read a broader array of world literature and my more particular goal of reading Chin A compelling collection of short stories from early 20th century China. Most are realist depictions of life, often for those on the margins (Mao admired Lu Hsun). A couple are more fantastical. There are some a haunting scenes--such as when an adolescent boy keeps changing his mind as to whether he is killing or saving a rat who has kept him awake at night and has fallen into a pot of water. For my 2017 effort to read a broader array of world literature and my more particular goal of reading Chinese literature this year, this was a good contribution.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Wolf

    I enjoyed a few of the stories, and they were written well. They just didn't interest me as a whole. Madman's Diary and Forging of the Swords were my favorite pieces. The others were fine, too, but not particularly moving. Lu Hsun's undertone of nostalgia throughout all the stories was good, but somewhat mind-numbing after an hour of reading him. I'm also not a fan of horror, and although his writing isn't really that genre, a few of his stories were fairly creepy. And I mean really creepy. I enjoyed a few of the stories, and they were written well. They just didn't interest me as a whole. Madman's Diary and Forging of the Swords were my favorite pieces. The others were fine, too, but not particularly moving. Lu Hsun's undertone of nostalgia throughout all the stories was good, but somewhat mind-numbing after an hour of reading him. I'm also not a fan of horror, and although his writing isn't really that genre, a few of his stories were fairly creepy. And I mean really creepy.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Had a greater impact on me, I think, since I currently live in the town of Lu Xun's tales, and live on the college campus that boasts a large bronze statue of the author at its front gate. These mostly tragic short stories cast murky light onto a past China whose inhabitants share the same worries, fears, and delights of modern day residents. A powerful translation. Had a greater impact on me, I think, since I currently live in the town of Lu Xun's tales, and live on the college campus that boasts a large bronze statue of the author at its front gate. These mostly tragic short stories cast murky light onto a past China whose inhabitants share the same worries, fears, and delights of modern day residents. A powerful translation.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mari

    So that's finally over. A few of the stories had some rather fine points, but the selection as a whole is emotionally bleak, especially the stories considering the tragedies that the common folk of that particular time had to go through. I don't know, I guess I expected more from the so-called "Father of modern Chinese literature". So that's finally over. A few of the stories had some rather fine points, but the selection as a whole is emotionally bleak, especially the stories considering the tragedies that the common folk of that particular time had to go through. I don't know, I guess I expected more from the so-called "Father of modern Chinese literature".

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sherry

    I love Hsun's writings. It's several short stories, but they are very involved and complete. He just gives wonderful insight into various lifes. My particular favorite is the Madman. It's told from the mad man's story and is very engaging and interesting. I love Hsun's writings. It's several short stories, but they are very involved and complete. He just gives wonderful insight into various lifes. My particular favorite is the Madman. It's told from the mad man's story and is very engaging and interesting.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sam Gammons

    Honestly, I wasn't crazy about this translation. Lu Xun penned some of the greatest works in Chinese fiction, and much of the "baihua" in Lu Xun's own writing is missed in this technical translation. Honestly, I wasn't crazy about this translation. Lu Xun penned some of the greatest works in Chinese fiction, and much of the "baihua" in Lu Xun's own writing is missed in this technical translation.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    The Crossroads Infoshop in the thrift store on 63rd off Troost are the best places to get books in Kansas City, no lie.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jerjonji

    A series of earth shattering short stories, I found them frustrating at times because I couldn't put them into their appropriate cultural perspective. I need an annotated copy! ! A series of earth shattering short stories, I found them frustrating at times because I couldn't put them into their appropriate cultural perspective. I need an annotated copy! !

  29. 5 out of 5

    Todd

    Lots of gems in this one.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tida Wilson

    "Diary of a Madman", "The True Story of Ah Q", and "Kung I-Chi" has (figuratively) grabbed me by the balls. "Diary of a Madman", "The True Story of Ah Q", and "Kung I-Chi" has (figuratively) grabbed me by the balls.

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