Death Fugue

Death Fugue

Author: Sheng Keyi, English translation Shelly Bryant (2014)

Book discussion follows translator Shelly Bryant’s April 17, 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm Weekender talk at Xingguo Hotel. Ginger by the Park is conveniently located across Xingguo Lu from the hotel. Complimentary entrance for non-members who attend the Weekender talk.

Dagmar Borchard discussion leader

Sheng Keyi, born 1973 in Henan Province, is based in Shenzhen. She is among the newer generation of writers who deal primarily with modern urban China as opposed to rural themes. She has published six novels, two of which have been translated into English by Shelly Bryant: Northern Girls (longlisted for the 2012 Man Asian Literary Prize) and Death Fugue. Her work, characterized by experimentation with style and voice and covering a wide range of emotional and social territory, tends to center on female characters and themes. (Paper Republic)

Death Fugue takes its name from a poem by Jewish/Polish poet Paul Celan about Nazi concentration camps by Jewish poet Paul Celan. Reviews have compared the work with Cloud Atlas, a 2004 novel by British author David Mitchell and George Orwell’s 1984. Ms. Sheng characterizes the work as a political allegory woven around the possibilities for China’s future. (Words without Borders)

Shelly Bryant divides her year between Shanghai and Singapore, working as a teacher, writer, researcher, and translator. Besides translating two of Sheng Keyi’s previous works of fiction Northern Girls and Fields of White, she is the author of six volumes of poetry and two travel guides to the cities of Suzhou and Shanghai. Her poetry has appeared in journals, magazines, and websites around the world. Shelly’s upcoming works include a book on Chinese gardens for the Royal Asiatic Society Shanghai’s Monograph Series (Hong Kong University Press).