Boy in the Twilight: Stories of the Hidden China
From the acclaimed author of Brothers and To Live: thirteen audacious stories that resonate with the beauty, grittiness, and exquisite irony of everyday life in China.
Yu Hua's narrative gifts, populist voice, and inimitable wit have made him one of the most celebrated and best-selling writers in China. These flawlessly crafted stories—unflinching in their honesty, yet balanced with humor and compassion—take us into the small towns and dirt roads that are home to the people who make China run.
In the title story, a shopkeeper confronts a child thief and punishes him without mercy. “Victory” shows a young couple shaken by the husband's infidelity, scrambling to stake claims to the components of their shared life. “Sweltering Summer” centers on an awkward young man who shrewdly uses the perks of his government position to court two women at once. Other tales show, by turns, two poor factory workers who spoil their only son, a gang of peasants who bully the village orphan, and a spectacular fistfight outside a refinery bathhouse. With sharp language and a keen eye, Yu Hua explores the line between cruelty and warmth on which modern China is—precariously, joyfully—balanced.
Taken together, these stories form a timely snapshot of a nation lit with the deep feeling and ready humor that characterize its people. Already a sensation in Asia, certain to win recognition around the world, Yu Hua, in Boy in the Twilight, showcases the peerless gifts of a writer at the top of his form.
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