- Publisher: Hong Kong University Press
- Format: Paperback | 308 pages
- Dimensions: 137mm x 213mm x 28mm | 476g
- Publication date: 11 May 2010
- Publication City/Country: Hong Kong
- ISBN 10: 9888028367
- ISBN 13: 9789888028368
- Sales rank: 451,239
This novel describes the growing up a small girl in Shanghai at a time when traditional values are turned upside down and new values have yet to be established. This small girl is mature well beyond her age, and the novel records her perceptions of the adults around her.
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Eileen Chang is now recognized as one of the greatest modern Chinese writers, though she was completely erased from official histories in mainland China. She was the most popular writer in Japanese-occupied Shanghai during World War II, with English and Chinese stories focusing on human frailties rather than nationalist propaganda. For her non-committal politics and idiosyncrasies, she was boycotted by fellow writers after the war and forced to the margins of literary respectability.
The Fall of the Pagoda begins as a comedy of manners and gradually evolves into a gothic thriller... Contradictions and aberrations are the norm in Lute's family. This is a household immersed in a decaying grandeur amid the intoxicating smell of opium, butit never hesitates to pursue new and exotic things from automobiles to movies. Desolation and decadence rule. Lute's father indulges himself in debauchery while her mother could not wait to become a Nora of New China. Nevertheless, both share the disposition to squander family fortune ruthlessly; children are their last concern. The Russian Revolution, the creation of Manchukuo, and the Second Sino-Japanese War take place one after another in the novel, but except for momentary disturbances, nothing affects the family which is already engulfed by its own corruption. From the Introduction by David Der-wei Wang, Harvard University
Eileen Chang is now recognized as one of the greatest modern Chinese writers, though she was completely erased from official histories in mainland China. These previously unpublished, semi-autobiographical novels depict in gripping detail her childhood years in Tianjin and Shanghai, as well as her student days in Hong Kong during World War II, and shed light on the construction of selfhood in her other novels.