East and West collide in new author’s fresh short story collection, “China Girl” Ho Lin transports readers on journey filled with vivid characters
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SAN FRANCISCO – A fresh new voice has emerged with an exquisite short story collection about modern Asia and the Asia of imagination. Ho Lin’s clearly defined voice as a debut author is a welcome surprise, as he ferries the reader to far-off destinations that they may not otherwise have a chance to experience.
Vivid characters populate China Girl: A modern woman adrift in modern China. Would-be lovers connected and separated by random chance. A drunken dissident and his less-than-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.
The stories range from contemporary tales of urban life to fable-like musings on a diverse assortment of people and places. Readers from all backgrounds will empathize with the struggle to find one’s place in an often-baffling world.
Foreword Reviews gave China Girl five stars and said “Throughout these stories, emotional storms gather in original, biting scenes.” Lin writes with an incredible sense of place and an astonishing intensity — this collection will earn a place on your shelf and is not to be missed.
Ho Lin is an author, musician and ﬁlmmaker, and the co-editor of the literary journal Caveat Lector. He has degrees from Brown University and Johns Hopkins University, and he currently resides in San Francisco.
About the book
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.
“China Girl and Other Stories”
Ho Lin | Oct. 1, 2017 | Regent Press
paperback | 978-1-58790-384-7 | Price: $19.00
Hardcover | 978-1-58790-403-5 | $29.00
E-book | 978-1-58790-385-4 | $7.95
An Interview with Ho Lin
The characters in all of your stories see things from such different viewpoints. Is it difficult to write from so many perspectives?
As a Chinese-American, having different perspectives is a way of life! I’m drawn to variety in characters and viewpoints — the wonderful thing about fiction is that you’re free to imagine different worlds and approaches. Many of my stories find characters placed in unfamiliar or bizarre circumstances, and how their own perspectives impact the situation, or are changed because of it.
What made you decide to publish a book of short stories rather than a novel?
I love novels and plan to complete a few in my future, but I’m also drawn to the concise yet complete experience of a short story. A writer once compared a short story to a kiss in the dark from a stranger, and I like the surprise and immediacy such an experience offers. Why not offer a kiss in the dark as your first published work?
How did your travels in China and Taiwan influence your writing?
We live in a multi-cultural world and I enjoy reading and writing stories that concern themselves with the intersections and divergences between East and West. Living in Asia and experiencing its history and culture — getting “back to roots,” so to speak — certainly solidified these interests for me.
Some of your stories touch on the immigrant experience. Do you, your family or friends have personal experience with this? As the son of parents who emigrated to Taiwan and then the U.S., the immigrant experience is part of the fabric of my life. While I respect the “fresh off the boat” tales of previous writers, I’m hoping to offer a different take on the experience with some of these stories: less about recounting family narratives and more about the emotional shifts and dislocations that come when you’re moving between East and West.
One of your stories talks about a Chinese “ghost bride” tradition. Is this a real tradition?
It is indeed, and I’ll let the story speak for itself about the tradition. It’s a fascinating remnant of Chinese history that I hope to explore in more detail in future writings.
What is something you’d like to communicate to readers who don’t have a lot of knowledge about Chinese culture?
China is a vast place, both geographically and culturally, and my stories just scratch the surface when it comes to presenting a full picture of the place. I’ll just say it’s a vivid country where tradition and modernity co-exist and collide every day. “Every story you hear about China is true,” one of my characters says, and I believe that.
If you were able to have an author roundtable with three peers, who would you like to sit down with, and what would you ask them?
So many to choose from! It would be a bit difficult since some of them are no longer with us, but I would love to meet Haruki Murakami, Italo Calvino and Paul Bowles. They all have very distinctive, unique visions, and I admire them for their creativity and consistency. I’d be happy to just sit there and listen to them talk about what inspires their stories, and how they approach their craft.
What’s next for you?
My next major project is a novel set in Shanghai — suffice to say that mysteries and ghost brides will play a role. I’m also editing my late mother’s travel diaries, which cover four decades of travel in China and are a fascinating document of personal history and cultural change.
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