Xue Yiwei's short stories of Shenzhen out in English

By Zhu Yuan ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-08-24 07:20:41

Xue Yiwei's short stories of Shenzhen out in English

Xue Yiwei sets many of his stories in Shenzhen, in Guangdong province. Qi Qi/For China Daily

For Montreal-based writer Xue Yiwei, the publication of the English version of his collection of short stories in Chinese is a remarkable event.

It is the first of a kind in Canada where he has lived for nearly two decades, and all nine stories in the book are about a city in his home country China. With a history of more than three decades, the city in his book developed out of a small fishing village as an epitome of China's reform and opening-up since the 1970s.

Shenzhen, China's first special economic zone in the south, saw the initial wave of reforms and paved the way for massive development in the rest of the country.

For Xue, it is a place where many of his short stories are set. The title of the collection, Shenzheners, may remind readers of the masterpiece Dubliners by James Joyce.

But similarities between the two books don't end there. Dubliners is about people's disillusionment and recognition of failure and anxiety, while Shenzheners tells about how some residents of Shenzhen, most of whom are migrants, feel they are estranged from the city even after having worked there for years.

In Xue's own words, their vulnerability forms the basis of the stories. Most people in China tend to turn a blind eye to this aspect of city life when it comes to talking of the urban boom.

What is peculiar about the stories is the fact that the name of Shenzhen does not appear even once in all of them, and not even the name of a street or anything that can remind readers of the city. By telling readers how the dwellers feel about life there and about their own experiences, Xue presents readers with an invisible city.

Previous Page 1 2 Next Page

Editor's Picks
Hot words

Most Popular