Allyssa Lee
November 17, 2006 AT 05:00 AM EST

Love in a Fallen City

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Eileen Chang
publisher
New York Review Books
genre
Fiction

We gave it an A-

A mid-20th-century China caught between tradition and modernity comes to unflinching life in these six novellas. Many of the characters struggle to maintain social standings and appearances: A man falls in love with his friend’s wife, but drops her after his mother expresses disapproval. A rich former concubine takes a niece under her wing, only to systematically use her innocence to get back at a lover who spurned her. At turns cold, calculated, artistic, and exquisite, Eileen Chang’s stories in Love in a Fallen City, (expertly translated by Karen S. Kingsbury) adeptly balance the messy pulls of family, education, class, and love.

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