Eileen Chang: Love in a Fallen City

Eileen Chang is, for me, a problematic writer. She is a very good writer, and I want to like her writing more than I do. The reasons are complicated. But first, let’s establish some facts on the ground. Chang was born in Shanghai, 1920, and raised bilingually, Chinese...

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Italo Calvino: Invisible Cities

“It is not the voice that commands the story; it is the ear.”  One thing that helped me decide when I contemplated doing a series of blog posts based on PowellsBooks Blog, “25 Books to Read Before You Die, World Edition, 2016,” was seeing on the list a book by Italo...

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Ryunosuke Akutagawa: Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories

Ryunosuke Akutagawa, one of Japan’s most celebrated writers, cut his life short at age 35, by suicide (1892-1927). During his short career of 12-15 years Akutagawa (pronounced Dyu-noss-ke Ak-ta-ga-wa) produced stories that continue to be read seriously both in Japan...

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