Books by Hong Ying

Released: Oct. 1, 2004

"More politics than novel. A movie version could be more interesting than the print."
A political drama set against the backdrop of the Three Gorges Dam project in China. Read full book review >
K by Hong Ying
Released: Nov. 1, 2002

"A delicate and exquisite success: Hong infuses real life with the drama and pathos of the best fiction."
A fictionalized account of a love affair Julian Bell conducted with a Chinese woman during the mid-1930s, by London-based novelist Hong (Summer of Betrayal, 1997; a memoir, Daughter of the River, 1999). Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 1, 1999

A memoir of growing up amid poverty in contemporary urban China—at once lyrical and brutal. It is 1980 and Hong Ying has turned 18. China is only now hesitantly beginning to move from under the powerful and dreadful shadow of the now dead Mao Zedong. Hong Ying is only now hesitantly beginning to reach adulthood, exploring her own mind, her sexuality, her past. Born in the famine year of 1962, Hong Ying's determined to uncover the secrets that lie beneath the surface of her family, to understand why she feels like an outsider in their midst. At the same time she becomes involved with a history teacher at her high school who has his own shadowy and violent past that will soon lead him to a tragic end. He emboldens her to think for herself and also briefly becomes her lover. Throughout it all, the lives of Hong Ying and those around her are hopelessly enmeshed in the capricious and catastrophic policies of the Chinese Communist Party. The famine years of the early "60s, brought on by inept government policies, led her mother, Hong Ying learns, to make choices she would not otherwise have made. The factious struggles of the Cultural Revolution led the history teacher to commit acts of brutality very much against his nature. This is, then, the story of one person's awakening, but also of a society's. In its stark and detailed portrayal of unremitting poverty—the pervasive sense of hopelessness and casual violence—and of the stress and intimacies of family life, the work is reminiscent of Angela's Ashes. Yet it is also very much a part of the great realist writing tradition of China's "May 4th" movement of the 1930s (Lu Xun, Lao She, etc.) in which the greater tragedies of society are revealed in the ruined lives of a few characters. A major writer emerges here, combining flawlessly the often broken dreams of youth and the usually broken dream of politics. (Author tour) Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 1997

Summer Of Betrayal ($21.00; Jun. 1997; 208 pp.; 0-374-27175-5): First published in Taiwan in 1992, this impassioned novel describes the emotional life of a young woman poet in the wake of the 1989 massacre of dissident students in Tiananmen Square. Lin Ying finds neither sexual satisfaction nor intellectual stimulation in relationships with variously disappointing men—only a cryptic kind of orgiastic fulfillment following an unconvincingly willful shedding of inhibitions. Hong Ying has interesting things to say about the submission of art to political considerations in contemporary China, and the poems attributed to her protagonist are often lovely. But the novel is clogged with highly charged melodramatic language (as translated), and the tedious amorality and apostrophizing of the bohemian culture Lin Ying moves through can make you feel as if you're reading Jack Kerouac's The Subterraneans in Chinese. Read full book review >