An extraordinary debut collection of short stories by a three-time Pushcart Prize winner following Chinese women in both China and the United States who turn to signs and languages as they cross the alien landscapes of migration and motherhood.
by Chun Ye
Catapult, September 2021
The haunting stories in HAO follow Chinese women in both China and America attempting to find language to navigate not only the immigrant experience but the strange continent of motherhood. Confronted with vast silences of gender and identity and trauma, these characters search for words to form fragile intimacies across alien or inhospitable landscapes. In the title story, “Hao,” a persecuted teacher attempts to survive the Cultural Revolution through a word game she plays with her daughter. In “Crazy English,” a woman who comes to America on a fiancée visa struggles with her anxiety around the English language and the looming menace of a stalker. In “A Drawer,” an illiterate teen mother in mid-20th Century wartime China tries to invent a language for herself through drawing.
By turns expansive and visceral, HAO is a tightly thematic portrait of the immigrant experience and a moving meditation on motherhood which will appeal to readers of Sour Heart and Sabrina & Corina.
Ye Chun (first name: Chun, surname: Ye) is a former NEA Literature Fellow and a three-time recipient of the Pushcart Prize for poetry or fiction. She received an MFA in Poetry from the University of Virginia and a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Missouri. Her short stories have appeared in Gulf Coast, TriQuarterly, and The Georgia Review, among other places. She has published two books of poetry: Travel Over Water and Lantern Puzzle, which won the Berkshire Prize. Her novel in Chinese,《海上的桃树》(Peach Tree in the Sea) was published by People’s Literature Publishing House in 2011. She has published three volumes of translations, including Ripened Wheat: Selected Poems of Hai Zi, shortlisted for the 2016 Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Award, and Long River: Poems by Yang Jian. Her translation of Li-Young Lee’s Behind My Eyes and Undressing came out in 2019 from People’s Literature Publishing House, and her translation of Galway Kinnell’s The Book of Nightmares is forthcoming in 2020. She teaches at Providence College.