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Family Catastrophe

Family Catastrophe: A Modernist Novel by Wang Wen-hsing

Wang Wen-hsing
Translated from the Chinese by Susan Wan Dolling
General Editor, Howard Goldblatt
Copyright Date: 1995
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  • Book Info
    Family Catastrophe
    Book Description:

    Wang Wen-hsing caused a sensation in Taiwan in 1972 with publication of Family Catastrophe, his first full-length novel. Many critics were outraged, called it socially irresponsible, morally corrupt, and stylistically irrational, but the novel weathered its controversial reception to become what is now widely regarded as a masterpiece in modern Chinese fiction and the benchmark of Taiwan’s Modernist movement. Often described as Joycean, Family Catastrophe is significant for its stylistic and linguistic experimentation as well as for its disturbing and universal themes. It appears now in English for the first time. Fiction From Modern China

    eISBN: 978-0-8248-6248-0
    Subjects: Linguistics

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-2)
  2. Part One
    (pp. 3-134)

    One windy afternoon, an old man with a face filled with misery quietly closed a bamboo gate, tossed a final glance at the house fenced in behind it, turned … and, in brisk strides, left. He walked straight ahead without looking back, all the way to the end of the alley, and disappeared.

    The fence was made of thin stalks of bamboo spaced far apart. A front yard, overgrown with weeds and wild grass, lay on the inside. Beyond it was a row of glass sliding doors, the front of a Japanese-style wooden house. The house appeared old and dirty;...

  3. Part Two
    (pp. 135-186)

    Darkness wrapped round about him. Looking in through the gaps of the bamboo fence, he saw one dim light inside the house. It was the light in the front hallway, the only light left on. The rest of the dark hallway was covered up by the shabby old curtains that had been drawn almost all the way through the front of the house. From this he could tell that his papa had not returned. It was now close to ten thirty. The entire neighborhood had turned in for the night. His mother, he was sure, was waiting up for him...

  4. Part Three
    (pp. 187-248)

    He was on the train going South. A notice had come from a shelter in T’aichung two days ago with the description of an old man who had recently arrived there, a man without an ID, who had lost his sight in both eyes, and was unable to speak – most likely the result of a stroke. Hence this trip down to T’aichung to make an identification. And inasmuch as this chance offered itself to him as a reason, he simply followed it to the logical conclusion of picking up where he left off and putting into action that long-planned-for...

  5. Author’s Afterword
    (pp. 249-252)

    Not long ago, Dr. Susan Wan Dolling wrote to say that her translation ofChia-pien(Family catastrophe) would be published soon, and she asked if I would write an afterword for the occasion. Words cannot express my thanks for the time and energy she spent on this novel.Chia-pien,it is true, took me seven years to write, but it took Dr. Wan Dolling no less than five years to translate it and win acceptance for publication. I regret not having been able to contribute more to this process, but because of the distance – she lives in the United...

  6. Translator’s Note
    (pp. 253-254)
  7. Translator’s Postscript
    (pp. 255-258)
  8. Back Matter
    (pp. 259-262)