Selected Stories (Norton Library)

"Some of these stories, I am sure, will be read as long as the Chinese language exists."—Ha Jin

"When I was young I, too, had many dreams. Most of them came to be forgotten, but I see nothing in this to regret. For although recalling the past may make you happy, it may sometimes also make you lonely, and there is no point in clinging in spirit to lonely bygone days. However, my trouble is that I cannot forget completely, and these stories have resulted from what I have been unable to erase from memory."—Lu Hsun

Living during a time of dramatic change in China, Lu Hsun had a career that was as varied as his writing. As a young man he studied medicine in Japan but left it for the life of an activist intellectual, eventually returning to China to teach. Though he supported the aims of the Communist revolution, he did not become a member of the party nor did he live to see the Communists take control of China. Ambitious to reach a large Chinese audience, Lu Hsun wrote his first published story, "A Madman's Diary," in the vernacular, a pioneering move in Chinese literature at the time. "The True Story of Ah Q," a biting portrait of feudal China, gained him popularity in the West. This collection of eighteen stories shows the variety of his style and subjects throughout his career.

In a new introduction, Ha Jin, the author of Waiting (National Book Award winner), The Bridegroom, and other works, places Lu Hsun's life and work in the context of Chinese history and literature.

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By Sophie (The United States) · ★★★★☆ · February 22, 2013
Great collection. The last story, "Forging the Swords" was totally amazing.

"A summer night is short."

"At such times even every inch of yearn she spun seemed worthwhile and alive."

"Old Mrs. Ninepounder, who was in a towering temper, whacked the legs of her stool with a tattered plantain fan."

"You... ...more
By Madhav (Bokaro Steel City, 38, India) · ★★★★★ · April 23, 2014
I had come across 'the true story of Ah Q' way back in 1980s when I was privileged to see the Bengali theatre adaptation "Jagannath".
Almost immediately I borrowed a selection of his stories in Bengali "LU HSUNer nirvachit galpo" edited and translated by Sandip Sengupta (Katha o Kahini) and read a... ...more
By Eric (The United States) · ★★★★☆ · April 07, 2014
A collection of mostly-brilliant stories from this legend (said to be the most famous Chinese author of the modern age). It's interesting that aside from this collection, he doesn't have many more fictional works of note. He was mainly an essayist, and it's remarkable that these stories really do... ...more
By Patrick (China) · ★★★★☆ · December 11, 2013

Lu Xun (1881-1936) was the first modern Chinese writer, and perhaps the greatest Chinese writer of the 20th century. Unlike Chinese writers before him, he rejected traditional, formal literary styles and used the modern Chinese dialect to write his stories. As a writer, he was also an insightful...

By Ethan (New York, NY) · ★★★☆☆ · August 03, 2009
Lu Hsun is a mammoth figure in Chinse literature. He mostly wrote in the 1910s and 1920s and he was as much a giant in his time as he is today. A notorious reformer who advocated for an end to imperial governance, Hsun generally sided with the communists over the nationalists during China's turbu... ...more
By Molly (Red Wing, MN) · ★★★☆☆ · October 08, 2012
I think, if I read these stories individually, scattered--an anthology, The New Yorker--I would have enjoyed the little slivers of Lu Hsun, but in a collection, there was something relentless, as if I was starting over with each story, one about a child lost to illness, then another, about adults... ...more
By Arturo (The United States) · ★★★☆☆ · November 04, 2011
A good book if you were ever interested in foreign authors, the fact that it is a collection of short stories is great for those of you who don't want to jump in with two feet into an entire book. some of the stories read a bit like fables--were the characters are not as fully developed as charac... ...more
By Mari · ★★★☆☆ · December 08, 2014
So that's finally over.

A few of the stories had some rather fine points, but the selection as a whole is emotionally bleak, especially the stories considering the tragedies that the common folk of that particular time had to go through. I don't know, I guess I expected more from the so-called "Fa... ...more
By Al (Vancouver, BC, Canada) · ★★★★☆ · March 17, 2014
I think Lu Hsun belongs on the small shelf that holds Chekhov and Kafka. ...more