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Wenguang Huang’s Intimate, Edifying “The Little Red Guard”

By Edward Nawotka

In today’s feature story Wenguang Huang discusses the struggle of Chinese publishers to find books that resonate in the West. Huang is himself an experienced translator, having worked on books including Liao Yiwu’s Corpse Walker, God Is Red, and Yang Xianhui’s Woman from Shanghai. Now, with publication of his memoir The Little Red Guard (just published by Riverhead Books), he’s an author as well.

Huang writes in the book of growing rowing up in central China during the 1970s and his family’s 16-year-long struggle to fulfill his grandmother’s last wish — to be buried in a coffin in her hometown, something that was illegal for much of the period covered by the book. Huang’s memoir offers a powerful depiction a period of rapid societal change in China, which is itself reflected in a variety of relationships — father-son, father-mother, mother-son, and always, the grandmother. In doing so, he manages to render the seemingly monolithic nation on a human-scale, demonstrating how the political becomes personal at every level in China. The Little Red Guard is by turns intimate and edifying; it makes for a fascinating, enlightening read.

Wenguang is a regular contributor to Publishing Perspectives. We want to extend our congratulations to on the publication of his book and wish him all the best.

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