Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bookforum excerpts Xiao's THE CAVE MAN.


The summer issue of Bookforum is out now with a special section called 'Fiction Forward' that spotlights work from forthcoming novels or story collections by young or emerging writers.

We're really proud to have a novel that we're publishing this December, called The Cave Man, by a talented writer named Xiaoda Xiao, included in the issue.

We're equally elated to have Jay Neugeboren (1940) write the introduction to the excerpt:

"Xiaoda Xiao, author of The Cave Man (Two Dollar Radio), emigrated from China to the United States in the spring of 1988, shortly before the breakout of the democracy movement in Tiananmen Square, leaving his wife behind; it would be two years before they would be allowed to reunite. He came from Suzhou and arrived in Amherst, Massachusetts, where it was my good fortune to become his teacher and friend. Xiao is—no hyperbole here—an extraordinarily gifted man: a concert violinist, a Ping-Pong champion, a trained architect, an inventor (with patents on file and products in the marketplace), a master chef, a music teacher, and a widely published writer (in China; this is his debut in the United States). He is also a survivor of seven years of forced labor on an island in Taihu Lake in Jiangsu province, where he served in one of Mao’s infamous prison labor-reform brigades. In The Cave Man, Xiao displays a splendid voice, one all his own. Like Solzhenitsyn, he has transformed his camp experience into sublimely vivid fiction. And like Kafka, Xiao memorably conjures a mad, surreal world, along with its potential both for cruelty and for kindness. In Ja Feng, Xiao’s protagonist, we have a man, released from solitary confinement, who must now make sense of ordinary life, which turns out to be at least as surreal and terrifying as the prison that was long his home. A masterful storyteller, Xiao offers us a gorgeously crafted, haunting tale rich in narrative invention as well as character. The Cave Man is as luminous as it is severe, and it will have a transformative effect on those fortunate enough to read it."

The entire excerpt is available online: http://www.bookforum.com/inprint/016_02/3883

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