The Running Flame (Weatherhead Books on Asia) (Hardcover)

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The Running Flame (Weatherhead Books on Asia) By Fang Fang, Michael Berry (Translator) Cover Image
By Fang Fang, Michael Berry (Translator)
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"She knew that if she didn't say her piece, that flame would never be extinguished; even after death, it would continue raging."

The Running Flame opens with its protagonist in prison awaiting execution, desperate to give an account of her life. Yingzhi, a girl from the countryside, sees opportunity in the liberal trends sweeping across China. After high school, she joins a song-and-dance troupe, which allows her to travel and opens her eyes to new people and places. But an unplanned pregnancy brings an abrupt end to all her youthful dreams. Trapped in a bad marriage, Yingzhi is driven to desperate measures--and eventually a shocking act of violence.

Fang Fang's explosive short novel inspired widespread social debate in China upon its publication in 2001. In exploring the difficulties of one woman shackled by patriarchal tradition against the backdrop of radical social change, The Running Flame bears witness to widespread experiences of gendered violence and inequality. Fang Fang evocatively captures both the heady feeling of possibility in China's roaring 1990s and its dark underside, as economic reform unleashed social dislocation in towns and villages. The novel draws loosely from interviews the author conducted with female death row inmates in a Chinese prison. Equal parts social critique and domestic horror, The Running Flame is a gripping, propulsive narrative that shines a light on the struggles of poor women in China's countryside.

About the Author

Fang Fang is the pen name of Wang Fang, one of contemporary China's most celebrated writers. Her books in English include Soft Burial, also translated by Michael Berry. Fang Fang's account of the COVID-19 lockdown in her hometown, Wuhan Diary, was translated into twenty languages and garnered critical acclaim from major media outlets around the world. Michael Berry is professor of contemporary Chinese cultural studies and director of the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. A Guggenheim Fellow, he is the author of several books, including Jia Zhangke on Jia Zhangke (2022) and Translation, Disinformation, and Wuhan Diary (2022). He is also the translator of numerous books, including Fang Fang's Wuhan Diary: Dispatches from a Quarantined City (2020).
Product Details
ISBN: 9780231215008
ISBN-10: 0231215002
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication Date: October 1st, 2024
Pages: 256
Language: English
Series: Weatherhead Books on Asia