China’s Big Lie: Review of Such Is This [email protected]
The following review of the translation of Such Is This [email protected] by Hu Fayun, was published in National Review and reposted on the author’s website:
The translation under review here was made by Andrew Clark, a non-academic, with acknowledged help from two Chinese consultants who prefer anonymity. It seems to me to be very well and sensitively done. Clark has supplied over 400 endnotes explaining the book’s many cultural references, from Chinese gift-giving protocol to Russian folk songs. He has kept close to the author’s unadorned colloquial style of Chinese, and has supplied an eloquent three-page preface of his own.
Clark told me that when he asked Hu Fayun for a thumbnail description of Such Is This [email protected]sars.come the author replied: “It’s about the internet.” The novel is actually about much more than that, but I see his point.
The story covers a year in the life of the principal character, a fortysomething Chinese widow named Ru Yan. It commences in the Fall of 2002, as her son prepares to depart for graduate school in France. He leaves Ru Yan his computer, teaches her how to use email and the internet, and directs her to a website called Midlife that includes a forum for parents of overseas students. The narrative then broadens out into several political, historical, and human themes; but the internet is humming away in the background, when not actually on the page, and drives key parts of the action.
The e-book version of Such Is This [email protected] can be downloaded at Ragged Banner Press. Read additional reviews of the book via CDT.