REVIEW: “Snow” by Chen Danyan

Review of Chen Danyan, Paul Harris (trans.), “Snow”, in Jin Li and Dai Congrong, ed., The Book of Shanghai, (Comma Press, 2020): 9-22 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology).

Another story that is not particularly speculative/SFF in nature, Danyan’s tale follows Zheng Ling one New Year’s morning as she navigates not only a trepidatious visit to her mother, but also a growing realisation that she is inhabiting the type of life that she pities in others.

It’s a quiet, not especially happy story, with a weight that makes everything feel like it’s blanketed in the titular snow. Little scenes are sketched here and there with great clarity, and while it may not be the sort of story that I ordinarily enjoy, I definitely enjoyed the writing (so kudos to the translator, whom I can only assume did an excellent job.)

(Originally published in Shanghai Literature, 2010).