Lin Zhe Old Town

ISBN 13: 9781611090079

Old Town

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Lin Zhe, one of China’s most prolific writers, paints an unforgettable picture of an ordinary family caught up in the maelstrom that was China's most recent century. Her narrative ranges across the entire length of China, to California and back again, to the battlefields of the Anti-Japanese War of Resistance and the brutal “struggle" sessions of the Cultural Revolution. But it always returns to this family's home in Old Town, that archetypical, old- fashioned, and vanishing place steeped in the traditions of South China. Ms. Lin examines the inner strength that sustains people's lives in their darkest hours, when religious and political faith falter. And yet, a vein of irony and droll humor runs through this powerful story. Lin Zhe's novel may be understood as a love story, memoir, history, or allegory. For the non-Chinese reader it provides a rare and moving insight into Chinese lives in a century of fearsome upheaval. This book was originally published under the title Riddles of Belief...and Love - A Story.

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Review:

A Q&A with Author Lin Zhe

Beijing-based author Lin Zhe has written 14 novels and three TV series. Time Out Beijing caught up with Lin Zhe and published the following interview.

Although Old Town is mostly set in the old town of Fuzhou, the action partly takes place in the States. What literary influences
helped create it?


The contents of Old Town is very Chinese, but the style – a less constrained style – is very Western. I like the French writer Marguerite Duras: she also uses freedom with time and space. When I write I feel that I am breaking away from the real world and stepping into a place which is much more free.

In the novel the older characters of the family live by simple values of Christian faith and Chinese tradition; by contrast your narrator represents a chaotic and lost generation who focus only on  themselves. How important is faith in the novel?

The different generations in the book are strung together by faith, and today’s China has a great hunger and thirst for faith. Faith answers questions everyone needs to face: why we are living in this world, the meaning of life, where I am from and where shall I go. Many people feel depressed because they have no answers to these problems. I’m not saying that one faith is right. I just want to let people know that we need to take care of our spiritual life, especially in a time of great materialism – like today.

You’re currently producing a Chinese TV series based on Old Town. What are the differences between writing a novel and writing a script?


Scripts have many technical requirements: for me, it’s more of a job, more of a routine. But with novels there are almost no limitations. I simply follow my feelings and let them lead me.

Interview by Cecilia Wu and Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore for Time Out Beijing.

About the Author:

Lin Zhe (pen name of Zhang Yonghong) was born in 1956 of Han Chinese parents then serving in the People’s Liberation Army in Kashi (Kashgar), a small frontier city in what is now Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. After graduating from the Chinese Language and Literature Department of Fudan University in 1980, she worked as a reporter and editor for Women of China Magazine in Beijing. She has written fourteen novels that focus on women’s issues relating to marriage and personal and family life, as well as three TV drama series.

George A. Fowler lived and traveled widely in the Asia Pacific region for over 30 years, first as a Marine, then as a student of Chinese and Malay, and finally for 23 years as a commercial banker. He has most recently translated Marah Rusli's classic Indonesian Malay novel Sitti Nurbaya, which will soon be published by Lontar in Jakarta.

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Book Description Amazon Publishing, United States, 2011. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Lin Zhe, one of China s most prolific writers, paints an unforgettable picture of an ordinary family caught up in the maelstrom that was China s most recent century. Her narrative ranges across the entire length of China, to California and back again, to the battlefields of the Anti-Japanese War of Resistance and the brutal struggle sessions of the Cultural Revolution. But it always returns to this family s home in Old Town, that archetypical, old- fashioned, and vanishing place steeped in the traditions of South China. Ms. Lin examines the inner strength that sustains people s lives in their darkest hours, when religious and political faith falter. And yet, a vein of irony and droll humor runs through this powerful story. Lin Zhe s novel may be understood as a love story, memoir, history, or allegory. For the non-Chinese reader it provides a rare and moving insight into Chinese lives in a century of fearsome upheaval. This book was originally published under the title Riddles of Belief.and Love - A Story. Seller Inventory # BRI9781611090079

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