PUBLISHERS & PRINTERS
by Ho Lin
paperback / $19.00 / ISBN: 978-1-58790-384-7 / 214 pages / 5.5” x 8.5”
hardback / $29.00 / ISBN: 978-1-58790-403-5 / 214 pages / 5.5 x 8.5"
e-book / $7.95 / ISBN: 978-1-58790-385-4 / all formats
Fiction / Short Stories / Chinese
Finalist for 2017 Best Book Awards in Short Fiction Category
ABOUT THE BOOK
A modern woman adrift in modern China. Would-be lovers connected and separated by random chance. A drunken dissident and his less-then-happy minder. A researcher of war atrocities who must come to grips with her own family tragedies. A princess of a kingdom that no longer exists. Actors placed at the service of comedies and tragedies, depending on a filmmaker’s whim… These are the characters that populate Ho Lin’s short story collection China Girl.
In its nine tales, China Girl documents the collisions between East and West, the power of myth and the burden of history, and loves lost and almost found. The stories in this collection encompass everything from contemporary vignettes about urban life to fable-like musings on memories and the art of storytelling. Wide-ranging and playful, China Girl is a journey into today’s Asia as well as an Asia of the imagination.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ho Lin is an author, musician and filmmaker, and the co-editor of the literary journal Caveat Lector. He currently resides in San Francisco.
Lin’s finely wrought stories have been examining contemporary life in America, China and East Asia, and the many places of mind and heart in between, with wit, compassion and deep intelligence for many years. We at last have some of the best of them collected into a single volume. A fascinating collection by one of our most perceptive writers of short fiction.
— Christopher Bernard
Complete review: https://www.forewordreviews.com/reviews/china-girl
In China Girl and Other Stories, Ho Lin examines the unease of living with memories: some brutal, others fleeting, each written with impressive foreboding. Nine dense, imaginative journeys take the form of film synopses, sketches, and sharp political commentaries. Together they demonstrate the tension between lost worlds and a volatile present…
In one of the briefer, stranger tales, a café is staged every day at the same time with a scene from the past that replays—for reasons unknown—for the benefit of a mysterious woman. Hints at a devastating event turn the work into a haunting act of near-love in its heartbreaking inability to move the needle from a singular moment…
In “Litany, Eulogy,” an author whose book on war crimes is praised and condemned sifts through childhood memories that alternate with visceral acts of aggression. The strange nature of celebrity braids with history, building a claustrophobic atmosphere. Penned for Iris Chang—whose nonfiction The Rape of Nanking is echoed in the story of a woman researching atrocity—it’s also a provocative tale of a family strained by a daughter’s fervor to know every detail.
Another standout, “National Holiday,” unfolds through a government lackey’s meeting with a dissident journalist. A remote tropical setting plays against a wider drama that signals the decline of one regime and rise of another. Stories that borrow from the methods of screenwriting also stand out. Actors playing several characters in the same film begin to seem interchangeable; their stories capture a modern existence that never finds peace.
When Ho Lin declares, in one story, that “absence and presence are constantly at war,” it’s the perfect summation for his characters’ lives, plagued as they are by dark histories.
Asian Review of Books
Complete review: http://asianreviewofbooks.com/content/china-girl-and-other-stories-by-ho-lin/
Ho Lin is a San Francisco-based filmmaker and musician as well as writer. Filmmaking directly informs a couple of the stories which riff on scripts and film pitches and indirectly in stories which are constructed out of short vignettes—in a story like “Charge”… one can almost see the camera cuts. All the stories, indeed, show attention to both dialogue and imagery, as if they were meant to be seen and heard as well as read.
Ho Lin’s China… of cadres, minders, girls chasing foreign passports, musicians aping foreign music, free-thinking journalists, is one refracted through a non-Chinese glass. The stories themselves, the human dilemmas of social alienation and facing up to one’s past, are more universal than particularly Chinese; their Chinese setting may be integral to the telling, but not perhaps to the point.
China Girl is published by Regent Press, a small publisher in Berkeley, California, welcome evidence of the continued vibrancy of independent publishing.
E.P. Clark: Author and Reviewer
Complete review: https://epclarkauthor.net/2017/10/06/china-girl-and-other-stories-by-ho-lin/
The stories of “China Girl” are delicately yet vigorously crafted – each one shows meticulous construction, with subtle details and close attention given to the characters’ internal states, but with the inclusion of plenty of earthy action as well: people eat, meet, break up, fight, die, and make love (or fail to make love) in vignettes that suggest something beyond the beginning, middle, and end of the story in question.
And in fact, while I would hesitate to label this collection as “metaphysical,” “visionary,” or “otherworldly” exactly, there certainly are ghosts, of both the literal and figurative kind, who add a layer of complexity to the situations the characters must negotiate. Like a delicious meal made up of multiple dishes, this story collection is rich in multiple flavors without being overwhelming, and well worth reading for anyone looking for some contemporary literary/multicultural short fiction.
Midwest Book Review
In its nine deftly written and inherently fascinating short stories, “China Girl”, although a series of fictional entertainments, insightfully documents the collisions between East and West, the power of myth and the burden of history, and loves lost and almost found. Simply stated, “China Girl” is very highly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as both community and academic library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections.
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