This is the second of my three-part June 2021 Book Haul. The first part featured selections from Japanese literature and part two will feature works of Asian Literature. Do tune out for the last part of this trilogy which features an array of works of European, African, and Latin American literature. Happy reading!

Title: The Bridge of Heaven
Author: S.I. Hsiung
Publisher: Graham Brash (Pte) Ltd
Publishing Date: 1986
No. of Pages: 391

Synopsis: “Diminutive 86-year-old Professor Hsiung is an undisputed giant in his own right. His international reputation as a literary phenomenon came with the publication and performance of the much-acclaimed play in English, Lady Precious Stream. It was staged in London from 1934 to 1936 and ran for 900 performances.

Jiangxi-born and Beijing-educated, Professor Hsiung has published several other books which have been translated into many languages. His novel, The Bridge of Heaven, is described by H.G. Wells as “more illuminating … than any report or treatise (on China). The reader will find the characters of Mr & Mrs. Ma and Li Ti-mo irresistible, and the reactions of the hero, Ta Tung, a startling illumination of the revolutionary motives and tendencies of multitudes of Chinese.”

Title: Water
Author: S.I. Hsiung
Translator: Lakshmi Homstrom
Publisher: Heinemann Educational
Publishing Date: 1993
No. of Pages: 95

Synopsis: “Ashokamitran was born in Andhra Pradesh, India, in 1931. One of the country’s most highly regarded writers in Tamil, he is the author of numerous short stories, novellas and several novels.

It is the summer of 1969. In the middle of the worst drought seen in Madras in many years, Jamuna is struggling to hold together the threads of a life on the point of crumbling. Seemingly friendless, manipulated by her love, scorned by her sister Chaya for her emotional weakness, Jamuna soon finds herself in the depths of despair. Water is a modern classic, a curiously cool reflection on the chaos of life in the city.”

Title: The Day Lasts More than a Hundred Years
Author: Chingiz Aitmatov
Translator: John French
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Publishing Date: 1988
No. of Pages: 352

Synopsis: “An extraordinary novel set in the vast windswept Central Asian steppes and the infinite reaches of galactic space. From elements of myth, history, realistic narrative, and science fiction, Chingiz Aitmatov has woven a rich tapestry that blends cosmic speculation with the age-old legends of the Asiatic steppes. This powerful tale offers a vivid view of the culture and values of the Soviet Union’s Central Asian peoples.

Chingiz Aitmatov, a leading Soviet writer from Kirghizia, is the author of Plakka (The Executioner’s Block) and the play, The Ascent of Mount Fuji.

Title: A Boat to Nowhere
Author: Maureen Crane Wartski
Publisher: Signet
Publishing Date: March 1981
No. of Pages: 153

Synopsis: “In the beginning, it was almost an adventure…

In their small, isolated village, Mai and her family thought themselves safe from war. Then Kien, a fourteen-year-old orphan, stumbled into their lives, bringing tales of terrible conquerors taking over the forest villages. Soon the conquerors themselves arrived, bringing an end to peace and happiness.

Then Kien had a desperate idea. He, Mai, her grandfather, and her little brother could still escape. They would take a village fishing boat and sail to another country. They would become boat people, risking the perils of pirates, storms, sickness, and starvation to find a land where they could be free…”

Title: A Small Town Called Hibiscus
Author: Gu Hua
Translator: Gladys Yang
Publisher: Panda Books
Publishing Date: 1983
No. of Pages: 260

Synopsis: “A Small Town Called Hibiscus is one of the best Chinese novels to have appeared in 1981. Its author Gu Hua was brought up in the Wuling Mountains of south Hunan. He presents the ups and downs of some families in a small mountain town there during the hard years in the early sixties, the “cultural revolution”, and after the downfall of the “gang of four”. He shows the horrifying impact on decent, hard-working people of the gang’s ultra-Left line, and retains a sense of humour in describing the most harrowing incidents. In the end, wrongs are righted, and readers are left with a deepened understanding of this abnormal period in Chinese history and the sterling qualities of the Chinese people.”

Title: Remote Country of Women
Author: Hua Bai
Translator: Qingyun Wu and Tomas O. Beebee
Publisher: University of Hawaii Press
Publishing Date: 1994
No. of Pages: 369

Synopsis: “Bai Hua shifts from tragicomic farce to earthy eroticism to modernist playwriting in this carefully wrought exploration of the clash between two ways of life. In alternating chapters, the novel tells the stories of Sunamei, a winsome young woman from a rural matriarchal community, and Liang Rui, a self-absorbed man who is also a weary witness to the Cultural Revolution. Through his two protagonists, Bai Hua addresses themes of the repression and freedom of sexuality, the brutality of modernity, and the fluidity of gender roles as the novel moves hypnotically and inevitably towards a collision between two worlds.”

Title: State of War
Author: Ninotchka Rosca
Publisher: Anvil Publishing
Publishing Date: 2019
No. of Pages: 360

Synopsis: “A lavish festival amid a long-drawn war – the defining image of this allegorical novel – portrays the deep-seated consciousness and longings of a people facing the dark days of the Martial Law regime.

Desperate for relief from the violence and repression in the city, Eliza, Adrian, and Anna set sail for the island of K— to take part in a popular festival, hoping to lose themselves in the crowd, to dance and drink the nights away. Yet, amid the merrymaking, the young people find themselves pulled into a series of schemes that shove them, inch by inch, towards an inevitable doom.

In this gripping tale of revelry, torture, subterfuge, and warfare, State of War creates a forceful impression on readers of exhuming the buried bodies and forgotten atrocities of a repressive regime, and illuminates the conflicts and turmoils of an entire country and culture.”