Loud Sparrows : Contemporary Chinese Short-Shorts

Aili MU (Translator), Julie CHIU (Translator), Howard GOLDBLATT (Translator)

Research output: Scholarly Books | Reports | Literary WorksBook (Translator)


Extremely short stories-known as short-shorts-have become a global phenomenon, but nowhere have they been embraced as enthusiastically as in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. The form's artistic and aesthetic freedoms allow authors to capture the tone, texture, and chaos of their rapidly changing societies in infinitely inventive ways. Fragments and contingencies reveal unofficial histories, undocumented memories, and the trials of everyday individuals, and the genre's lean format is a welcome antidote to a culture characterized by rampant excess.

Loud Sparrows is a spirited collection of ninety-one short-shorts written by Chinese authors over the past three decades. Presenting diverse voices and perspectives by writers both well known and new to the art, the stories are culled from newspapers, magazines, literary journals, and personal collections. Their subjects range from the mundane to the sublime and illuminate everything from humanist ideals to traditional virtues to the material benefits of a commercialized society. The anthology is organized into thematic categories such as Change, Creatures, (In)fidelities, Grooming, Governance, Nourishment, and Weirdness, and includes notes to better understand the genre. Each section is introduced by an original piece of flash fiction written by Howard Goldblatt.

The short-short, to borrow a Chinese saying, is "small as a sparrow but has all the vital organs" of a good story. Loud Sparrows offers a comprehensive introduction to a unique literary genre that has revolutionized world literature.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherColumbia University Press
Number of pages272
ISBN (Electronic)9780231138482
ISBN (Print)9780231138499
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008

Bibliographical note

Selected and translated by Aili Mu, Julie Chiu, and Howard Goldblatt. Preface by Bei Dao


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