REVIEW: “Bengal Tiger” by Xia Shang

Review of Xia Shang, Lee Anderson (trans.), “Bengal Tiger”, in Jin Li and Dai Congrong, ed., The Book of Shanghai, (Comma Press, 2020): 23-38 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology).

The families of Chang Jing and Li Dabing have been feuding for years now. When their feud gets passed onto their sons, Rocky and Chao, both families need to face up to the claim at the root of it all: That the Chang family owes the Li family a life. Whose life, and why?

The story jumps back and forth between Jing and his son, between the present and the past, as it attempts to unweave the mystery. But at the very end, I came with feeling that I should have figured out who it was that had died, and how, but I didn’t. This might be a story that improves upon rereading; but it might also be one where something crucial has been lost in translation.

But kudos to the informative footnotes, which Comma Press’s books often have, and which I love!

(First published in People’s Literature, 2001.)

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