Louisa Chiang’s essays have been published in Taiwan and China. She was the China officer at the National Endowment for Democracy and received the Taipei Council for Cultural Affairs Literary Fiction Translation Prize in 2003. (June 2018)

IN THE REVIEW

Before the Revolution

Little Reunions

by Eileen Chang, translated from the Chinese by Jane Weizhen Pan and Martin Merz

Forever Young

a film directed by Li Fangfang
Finished in 1976 but not published until 2009, fourteen years after her death, Eileen Chang’s novel Little Reunions sold 700,000 copies in China in its first six months of publication. It is Chang’s most autobiographical work, so some of its allure has been as a trove of clues to the author’s life. More than that, though, the novel recalls a vanished China of the 1930s and 1940s that was both rooted in Chinese culture and open to the West; its scenes offer an antidote to the mood of indignant rivalry and, at least in the imagination, an alternative to the Xi Jinping version of what it means to be a modern Chinese.