Eileen Chang's first English autobiographical novel published

17:16, April 16, 2010      

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Dr. Song Yilang was on the new book conference of "The Fall of the Pagoda". (CNS photo)

Following "Little Reunion" (小团圆), another autobiographical novel "The Fall of the Pagoda" (雷峰塔) by Eileen Chang was published this week 15 years after the reclusive writer's death.

Song Yilang, the executor of Chang's estate, said at a new book conference that Chang finished the book in 1963 in America, and it is an English autobiographical novel collection with two parts: "The Fall of the Pagoda" and "Book of Change," which is going to be published in September this year.

According to Song, Chang had tried to contact American publishers to release the book when she finished it, but they all said a story about a heroine's childhood in China was not attractive in the American market and refused to publish it. However, through a letter Chang wrote to her friend we learn that she wanted to publish her English work very much and never believed the book was not good enough.

"The Fall of the Pagoda" tells a long story about a young heroine growing up and her family history starting at age 4. It is the memoir of Chang's life between the ages of 4 and 18.

Song said this book was finished more than 10 years earlier than "Little Reunion," which had become one of the top 10 books in China of 2009, and lots of contents of the latter book were translated from the former one. And lots of details about the writer's childhood and relationships in the book of "The Fall of the Pagoda" were not included in "Little Reunion."

'Pagoda' stands for the old society

The book's title symbolizes the collapse of the old society and feudalism. Chang wrote her book based on her experience of the changes in Chinese society and was influenced by her family's suffering through the process.

The reason that Chang wrote this English book, according to Lin Peili, the chief editor of a cultural monthly journal, is because the family relationship during her childhood had affected her all life, and she would like to cure her psychic trauma by repeating her stories. Lin also believed the book is nothing new but with another language.

Next: "Book of Change"

Song said this year is the 80th anniversary of Chang's birth and the 15th anniversary of her death, so they would like to publish her two English books to commemorate her life. The next English work will be "Book of Change" which is scheduled to be published in September of this year.

Book of Chang mainly tells the stories of when she studied at Hong Kong University.

In addition, Song said both of the English books will be also published in Chinese.

CNS contributed to the story

By People's Daily Online


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