REVIEW: “The Story of Ah-Ming” by Wang Zhanhei

Review of Wang Zhanhei, Christopher MacDonald (trans.), “The Story of Ah-Ming”, in Jin Li and Dai Congrong, ed., The Book of Shanghai, (Comma Press, 2020): 79-94 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology).

Ah-Ming is an unlikely character for a story to center around — “the old lady who lived in a lock-up garage at the end of the estate” (p. 81) who trawls through the trash collecting bottles and cans to trade for money and any other bit of rubbish that one day might be useful. Everyone in the neighborhood had witnessed her slow decline over recent years; but no one expected her to one day be discovered in the trash bins.

The discovery of Ah-Ming in the bin both opens and closes this strange story. I found it a strange juxtaposition of very deftly put together and almost entirely lacking in sympathy, whether on the part of the characters, the reader, or, dare I say it, the author. Strange indeed.

(Originally published in One, 2016).

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