The Sound of Salt Forming: Short Stories by the Post-80s Generation in China
288pp. October 2015
The Sound of Salt Forming: Short Stories by the Post-80s Generation in China
Editor: Song, Geng; Yang, Qingxiang;
China's post-80s generation, sometimes referred to as Generation Y, is the first whose members have grown up entirely within the reformist era. They are keen to distinguish themselves from their predecessors in every aspect of life. To Western eyes, this generation of Chinese, who are highly engaged with the world, display the ambiguities and paradoxes associated with China's economic rise: They are both nationalistic and cosmopolitan, subservient and defiant, hedonistic and mundane, materialistic and aspirational.

This volume brings together some of the most popular and influential writers of this generation. Most of them remain largely unknown outside China. The short stories have been translated into English by a team of enthusiastic and skilled sinologists, and represent some of the "sweetest songs" that tell of the pains and dreams, frustrations and desires, crises and endeavors of this generation in urban China. The works also demonstrate how "youth" itself is commodified in a system of writing and production that significantly breaks away from the old socialist mode. The book is a must-read for those who are interested in not only the China of today but also of tomorrow.

Not for sale in mainland China

Published in association with Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press
”The Sound of Salt Forming brings together recent fiction by some of China’s distinguished younger writers, the generation born in the 1980s who came of age in the midst of a burgeoning and chaotic economy and intense social change. Anxiety, frustration, boredom, exhaustion, confusion—and of course love, sex, and drinking—are regular features of this new fiction. So too are wit and deep irony. Some writers spin fantastic myths; others build characters both ordinary and familiar who face profound moral crises. No question seems beyond their frank confrontation. Only the invidious contrasts between supposedly sophisticated urbanites and the outsiders, the cautious, and the conventional appear here as they did in previous generations. One might see these surprising stories as reflecting the kaleidoscopic complexity of contemporary society—all with distinct 'Chinese characteristics.'” —Robert E. Hegel, Washington University, St. Louis
Editor: Song, Geng; Yang, Qingxiang;
Geng Song is associate professor of translation studies and China studies at the University of Hong Kong. Among his recent publications are Men and Masculinities in Contemporary China (Brill, 2014) and Chinese Television in the Twenty-First Century (Routledge, 2015).

Qingxiang Yang is associate professor of Chinese contemporary literature at Renmin University of China. Among his publications are The Divided Mind (Peking University Press, 2013) and Rewriting’s Limitation: The Imagination and Practice of “Rewriting Literary History” (Peking University Press, 2011).