Already compared to Hemingway and Murakami, Shuang Xuetao is one of the most highly celebrated young Chinese writers—his English-language debut Rouge Street collects three dazzling novellas of Northeast China, mixing realism, mysticism, and noir An enterprising inventor dreams of escaping his drab surroundings in a flying machine. A criminal, trapped beneath a frozen lake, transforms into a giant fish. A strange girl pledges to ignite a field of sorghum stalks.
Rouge Street collects three novellas by Shuang Xuetao, the lauded young Chinese writer whose frank, fantastical short fiction has already inspired comparisons to Ernest Hemingway and Haruki Murakami. Located in China’s frigid Northeast, Shenyang, the author’s birthplace, boasts an illustrious past—legend holds that the emperor’s makeup was manufactured here. But while the city enjoyed renewed importance as an industrial hub under Mao Zedong, China’s subsequent transition from communism to a private economy led to an array of social ills—unemployment, poverty, alcoholism, domestic violence, divorce, suicide—which gritty Shenyang epitomizes.
Orbiting the toughest neighborhood of a postindustrial city whose vast, inhospitable landscape makes every aspect of life a struggle, these many-voiced missives are united by Shuang Xuetao’s singular style—one which balances hardscrabble naturalism with the transcendent, and faces the bleak environs with winning humor. Lyrical, masterful, Rouge Street illuminates not only the hidden pains of those left behind in an extraordinary economic boom, but also the unlikely, nourishing grace they, nevertheless, manage to discover.