The Song of Everlasting Sorrow, Translated by Michael Berry and Susan Chan Egan by Wang Anyi
A Novel of Shanghai (Weatherhead Books on Asia)

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Synopsis

Set in post-World War II Shanghai, The Song of Everlasting Sorrow follows the adventures of Wang Qiyao, a girl born of the longtong, the crowded, labyrinthine alleys of Shanghai's working-class neighborhoods.

Infatuated with the glitz and glamour of 1940s Hollywood, Wang Qiyao seeks fame in the Miss Shanghai beauty pageant, and this fleeting moment of stardom becomes the pinnacle of her life. During the next four decades, Wang Qiyao indulges in the decadent pleasures of pre-liberation Shanghai, secretly playing mahjong during the antirightist Movement and exchanging lovers on the eve of the Cultural Revolution. Surviving the vicissitudes of modern Chinese history, Wang Qiyao emerges in the 1980s as a purveyor of "old Shanghai"—a living incarnation of a new, commodified nostalgia that prizes splendor and sophistication—only to become embroiled in a tragedy that echoes the pulpy Hollywood noirs of her youth.

From the violent persecution of communism to the liberalism and openness of the age of reform, this sorrowful tale of old China versus new, of perseverance in the face of adversity, is a timeless rendering of our never-ending quest for transformation and beauty.
 

About Wang Anyi

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Wang Anyi began her career as a writer in 1978. Her books in English include Lapse of Time, Love in a Small Town, Love on a Barren Mountain, Brocade Valley, and the novel Baotown, which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book of the Year award. She currently lives in Shanghai and is a professor of Chinese literature at Fudan University.Michael Berry is associate professor of contemporary Chinese cultural studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the translator of several novels and the author of Jia Zhangke's Hometown Trilogy, A History of Pain: Trauma in Modern Chinese Literature and Film, and Speaking in Images: Interviews with Contemporary Chinese Filmmakers.Susan Chan Egan, an independent scholar, is the author of A Latterday Confucian: Reminiscences of William Hung 1893-1980 and coauthor of A Pragmatist and His Free Spirit: The Half-Century Romance of Hu Shi and Edith Clifford Williams.
 
Published February 22, 2008 by Columbia University Press. 452 pages
Genres: History, Travel, Literature & Fiction, Political & Social Sciences. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Song of Everlasting Sorrow, Translated by Michael Berry and Susan Chan Egan

The New York Times

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Wang Anyi’s novel spans four decades in the life of a woman making her way in a rapidly changing China.

May 04 2008 | Read Full Review of The Song of Everlasting Sorro...

Publishers Weekly

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Enamored by Hollywood in prerevolutionary China, Wang Qiyao serendipitously poses for a photograph that is chosen for the cover of Shanghai Life magazine. Dubbed

Jan 21 2008 | Read Full Review of The Song of Everlasting Sorro...

This epic novel spans four decades in the life of W

Apr 01 2013 | Read Full Review of The Song of Everlasting Sorro...

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