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Little Reunions: Eileen Chang's triumphant return to HKU

Speaker:

Martin Merz

Moderator:

Ilaria Maria Sala

Date:

8 May 2018 (Tuesday)

Time:

6:30 - 8:00 pm

Venue:

Special Collections, 1/F, Main Library, The University of Hong Kong

Language:

English and Mandarin

 

 

About the Speaker

Mr Merz is a long-time resident of Hong Kong who has translated Chinese literature from Chinese into English, including three novels, two operas and numerous shorter pieces for the New York Times and numerous literary journals.

 

About the Book

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Now available in English for the first time, Eileen Chang’s dark romance opens with Julie, living at a convent school in Hong Kong on the eve of the Japanese invasion. Her mother, Rachel, long divorced from Julie’s opium-addict father, saunters around the world with various lovers. Recollections of Julie’s horrifying but privileged childhood in Shanghai clash with a flamboyant, sometimes incestuous cast of relations that crowd her life. Eventually, back in Shanghai, she meets the magnetic Chih-yung, a traitor who collaborates with the Japanese puppet regime. Soon they’re in the throes of an impassioned love affair that swings back and forth between ardour and anxiety, secrecy and ruin. Like Julie’s relationship with her mother, her marriage to Chih-yung is marked by long stretches of separation interspersed with unexpected little reunions. Chang’s emotionally fraught, bitterly humorous novel holds a fractured mirror directly in front of her own heart.1

Eileen (Ailing) Chang, 張愛玲, a legendary Chinese writer, studied at HKU’s Faculty of Arts between 1939 and 1941 where she excelled academically and received two scholarships. When Hong Kong was occupied by the Japanese, she was forced to suspend her studies and return to Shanghai. However, the two years she spent in Hong Kong were critical to her later emergence as a legend in the world of literature.2

This final work of Ms Chang is an autobiographical fiction finally brought to the English reader two decades after her passing in Los Angeles.

Books written by Eileen Chang from the Library’s collection will be on display during the book talk.

 

1https://www.nyrb.com/products/little-reunions?variant=41949185543
2http://www.scholarships.hku.hk/Scholarships/detail/67