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Encounters with Chinese Writers

Annie Dillard

Publication Year: 1984

It's been a pilgrimage for Annie Dillard: from Tinker Creek to the Galapagos Islands, the high Arctic, the Pacific Northwest, the Amazon Jungle--and now, China. This informative narrative is full of fascinating people: Chinese people, mostly writers, who encounter American writers in various bizarre circumstances in both China and the U.S. There is a toasting scene at a Chinese banquet; a portrait of a bitter, flirtatious diplomat at a dance hall; a formal meeting with Chinese writers; a conversation with an American businessman in a hotel lobby; an evening with long-suffering Chinese intellectuals in their house; a scene in the Beijing foreigners' compound with an excited European journalist; and a scene of unwarranted hilarity at the Beijing Library. In the U.S., there is Allen Ginsberg having a bewildering conversation in Disneyland with a Chinese journalist; there is the lovely and controversial writer Zhang Jie suiting abrupt mood changes to a variety of actions; and there is the fiercely spirited Jiange Zilong singing in a Connecticut dining room, eyes closed. These are real stories told with a warm and lively humor, with a keen eye for paradox, and with fresh insight into the human drama.

Published by: Wesleyan University Press


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pp. vii-viii

Like most writers who deal with contemporary China,I've disguised some people. Wu Fusan is not the man's real name, nor is Song Hua, Mr. Fu, or Sam Samson. All the other major characters appear under their actual names. Throughout, I've used standard Pinyin spelling—"Beijing,

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pp. 1-8

These are anecdotes—sketches—of encounters in China and in the United States with various Chinese people, many of them established writers. The encounters in China took place in May and June1982. I was travelling as a member of a six-person delegation of U.S. scholars, writers, and publishers. The other ...

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pp. 9-58

We are being feted at a banquet in Beijing, in one of a restaurant's many private banquet rooms. The room is drab and charmless; the food is wonderful. Our hosts, members of the Beijing Writers Association, are mostly men and women in their fifties, sixties, seventies, and eighties. They are people who have witnessed, participated ...

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pp. 59-106

Zhang Jie, an innovative and controversial young writer, is carrying my Siamese cat around the house. She holds it by the armpits, so it faces the couch. "Beautiful," she keeps saying, enormously pleased. It is an English word she has picked up since I saw her in Los Angeles three weeks ago."Beautiful!" Her own beautiful face is tight and alight with ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780819571991
Print-ISBN-13: 9780819551306

Page Count: 117
Publication Year: 1984