Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Review: The Way Spring Arrives edited by Yu Chen & Regina Kanyu Wang


The Way Spring Arrives edited by Yu Chen & Regina Kanyu Wang
Publication Date: March 8th, 2022
Hardcover. 400 pages.

About The Way Spring Arrives:

"From an award-winning team of authors, editors, and translators comes a groundbreaking short story collection that explores the expanse of Chinese science fiction and fantasy. 

In The Way Spring Arrives and Other Stories, you can dine at a restaurant at the end of the universe, cultivate to immortality in the high mountains, watch roses perform Shakespeare, or arrive at the island of the gods on the backs of giant fish to ensure that the world can bloom. 

Written, edited, and translated by a female and nonbinary team, these stories have never before been published in English and represent both the richly complicated past and the vivid future of Chinese science fiction and fantasy. 

Time travel to a winter's day on the West Lake, explore the very boundaries of death itself, and meet old gods and new heroes in this stunning new collection."

The Way Spring Arrives and Other Stories: A Collection of Chinese Science Fiction and Fantasy in Translation from a Visionary Team of Female and Nonbinary Creators is an imaginative and incredibly creative collection of stories from a fantastic array of Chinese authors. This is a magical, enlightening, and entertaining collection of stories that have so much heart in them and that are simply filled to the brim with imagination. Since there are so many stories in this collection, I’ll share my thoughts on a few of my favorites below. 

“The Stars We Raised” by Xiu Xinyu, translated by Judy Yi Zhou: “The Stars We Raised” is the opening story of this collection and I think it was a perfect way to start this collection. It evoked a lot of different emotions from me, from awe to intrigue to even a bit of a melancholy air, and it had such a great sense of imagination that I think captured something really special. 

“Blackbird” by Shen Dacheng, translated by Cara Healey: This was a rather melancholy and somewhat eerie story that I found myself particularly captivated by. This one features a modern setting in an elderly home and is about a young nurse and an elderly woman, the latter of which is not quite ready to move on from life just yet. I thought this one was exceptionally thought-provoking. 

“The Way Spring Arrives” by Wang Nuonuo, translated by R.F. Kuang: This titular story was a beautiful story about the ways in which the earth rotates and how the seasons are changed throughout the year. I think this was a great choice for the title of this collection because it really evoked a sense of freshness that fits well for both the upcoming season and the creativity of this collection. 

“The Portrait” by Chu Xidao, translated by Gigi Chang: This was such an incredibly beautifully written and translated story. The story itself was not necessarily my favorite, but the writing was so elegant and delicately crafted that I couldn’t drag myself away from it. 

“The Woman Carrying a Corpse” by Chi Hui, translated by Judith Huang: This story is about exactly what the title says: a woman carrying a corpse. We encounter a variety of different people that the woman meets on her travels and all of the questions they ask her about the corpse. This is probably one of “weirdest” stories, and I can’t say I know the exact theme or message it was meant to be, but I still feel like I got a lot from this woman’s journey. Definitely an odd one, but one whose format I enjoyed as much as I did the content. 

There are a couple essays sprinkled throughout as well, such as “Translation as Retelling” and “The Future of Gender in Chinese Science Fiction.” I thought these essays were really well written and fascinating/informative and appreciated their inclusion. My only sort of problem is that they felt fairly randomly included and I think made the transition from short story to essay a bit choppy and didn’t flow all that well. 

This is a large collection with over 15 stories, so it’s well worth the read and sure to have at least a couple stories to your taste! Overall, I’ve given The Way Spring Arrives 4 stars.

*I received a copy of The Way Spring Arrives courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

Buy the book: Amazon | Bookshop.org

1 comment:

  1. My copy just arrived yesterday, so I'm going to squeeze these stories in between reading novels. It sounds really good!