Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Good Fall: stories

I really enjoyed this collection of short stories. Very moving, but pain-filled. Loyalty to Chinese culture rubs uncomfortably up against American culture in many of the stories.

In the short story In the Crossfire, a young man invites his mother from China to stay for two months with him and his wife. Neither woman can stand the other, and Tian is caught in the middle, unable to bear hurting either and yet resigned to watching his wife Connie withdraw from him and their relationship.

p. 98: "'Mom, you don't get it. This is my home and you shouldn't interfere with my schedule.'
'What did you say? Sure, this is your home, but who are you? You're my son, aren't you!'"

p. 116: "That night Connie asked Tian to share the master bedroom with her, but he wouldn't saying they musn't nettle his mother from now on. He felt sad, afraid that Meifen might change her mind. He remembered that when he was taking the entrance exam fourteen years back, his parents had stood in the rain under a shared umbrella, waiting for him with a lunch tin, sodas, and tangerines wrapped in a handkerchief. They each had half a shoulder soaked through. Oh, never could he forget their anxious faces. A surge of gratitude drove him to the brink of tears. If only he could speak freely to them again."

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