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WILD KIDS by Chang Ta-Chun


by Chang Ta-Chun & translated by Michael Berry

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-231-12096-6
Publisher: Columbia Univ.

Translator Berry’s informative introduction to these “Two Novels About Growing Up” emphasizes their popular Taiwanese author’s multiple celebrity, both as radio and TV personality and as creator of the best-selling trilogy that contains them. My Kid Sister is a sober, quite affecting recounting of a middle-class family’s complacency, from the viewpoint of their alienated, imaginative daughter. It’s more vivid, and more well crafted, than the episodic Wild Child, a nightmare vision of a teenager adrift in Taiwan’s criminal underworld. The latter has been compared to Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, but it’s actually much closer in spirit, if not in artistry, to James T. Farrell’s grimly fatalistic Studs Lonigan.