Further News of Defeat

Stories

Michael X. Wang

Further News of Defeat

Michael X. Wang

Distributed for Autumn House Press

192 pages | 5 1/4 x 8 1/4
Paper $17.95 ISBN: 9781938769641 Published September 2020
E-book $17.95 ISBN: 9781938769658 Published September 2020

Steeped in a long history of violence and suffering, Michael X. Wang’s debut collection of short stories interrogates personal and political events set against the backdrop of China that are both real and perceived, imagined and speculative. Wang plunges us into the fictional Chinese village of Xinchun and beyond to explore themes of tradition, family, modernity, and immigration in a country grappling with its modern identity. Violence enters the pastoral when Chinese villagers are flung down a well by Japanese soldiers and forced to abandon their crops and families to work in the coal mines, a tugboat driver dredges up something more than garbage polluting the Suzhou River, and rural and urban landscapes are pitted against each other when young villagers are promised high-paying work in the city but face violent persecution instead. In this world where China has regressed back to its imperial days, we meet an emperor who demands total servitude and swift punishment for attempts at revolution, and we follow a father who immigrates to the United States for a better life and loses everything in a tragic accident—aside from his estranged son—with whom he stubbornly refuses to make amends. Further News of Defeat is rich with characters who have known struggle and defeat and who find themselves locked in pivotal moments of Chinese history—such as World War II and the Tiananmen Square massacre—as they face losses of the highest order and still find cause for revival. Further News of Defeat is the winner of the 2019 Autumn House Press Fiction Prize.
 

Contents
a minor revolution with consideration and care further news of defeat the well cures and superstitions the whole story of a tugboat driver on suzhou river a family accident where clouds rain pearls at this moment, in this space new work in new china
Review Quotes
Aimee Bender, author of "The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake"
“In Further News of Defeat, Wang reveals a remarkable ability to move fluidly through time periods and points of view, all with such a clear and vibrant voice—the stories then sing on a sentence level while also illuminating the world at large. There’s big ambition here, but shown through these small moments and stylistic flourishes, and the combination is both graceful and exciting, a tumbling between micro and macro, between individual and society, scene and era.”
Robert Olen Butler, author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain
"Michael X. Wang’s collection of stories, Further News of Defeat, focuses intensely on the people of China, in their home country and in their diaspora, but make no mistake about this splendid book. It is about all of us. His stories brilliantly explore the deepest theme inherent in every human being and in most great literature: our yearning for a self, for an identity, for a place in the universe. This is a remarkable debut by a gifted new artist."
Sharon Solwitz, author of Once, in Lourdes: A Novel
“Wang’s debut collection is a masterful amalgam of heart, brutality, and irony. Wang sees deeply into his subject. With offhand precision his stories present a vision of recent China that feels utterly genuine even when he is raucously, indubitably inventing. This is political fiction of a high caliber.”
Porter Shreve, author of The End of the Book
Further News of Defeat is a collection of deeply researched and engrossing, wonderfully evocative and moving short stories about the people of a particular village in China and the migration of their descendants to urban centers and new lands. What’s extraordinary about this book is how it also reads like a distilled epic bringing to life the great clash of tradition and progress in a half-century of dizzyingly rapid change in the world’s most populous country. A beautiful, assured, and unforgettable debut.”
Jake Wolff, author of The History of Living Forever
"Although the stories in this engrossing debut collection cover myriad perspectives, time periods, and themes, Further News of Defeat also reads with the cohesiveness and urgency of the best political novels, capturing the consequences of history’s largest, cruelest forces—war, poverty, corruption—on the individual lives of its characters. As the collection weaves through the history of China—both real and imagined—Wang tackles dark, painful subjects with startling tenderness and care. Further News of Defeat is a stunning debut from a major new talent."
 
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