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White Poppies and Other Stories by Zhang Kangkang

153 White Poppies
Karen GERNANT & Zeping CHEN, trans.
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In this riveting and poignant collection, Zhang Kangkang focuses on two major migrations in China. The first is that of the young educated youth who were sent “up to the mountains and down to the countryside” to learn from the peasants during the Cultural Revolution. The second is the large-scale voluntary migration during the last two decades from the countryside to the cities. These migrants leave their homes in search of work, and as in other countries, they take the jobs that urban residents do not want.     In her stories focusing on the first migration, Zhang Kangkang, who was herself one of the educated youth, shows us the youngsters’ initial idealism and hope—sometimes, later shattered. She reveals the hardships, the triumphs, and the corruption of the soul. In her stories of the second migration, she shines a sympathetic light on the lives and struggles of China’s disadvantaged; here, too, there is hope—the hope born of voluntary displacement, but there is also the anguish that accompanies being uprooted from home and family.     The characters, as well as the setting of the stories, ring with authenticity. Readers empathize with her characters, and come away from her stories with a deeper understanding of the lives of ordinary people in China. | 184 pages


  • Translators' Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • White Poppies
  • Yanni's Secret
  • Are Birds Better at Walking or Flying
  • Please Take Me with You
  • Zhima
  • Atop Beijing's Mountain of Gold

Author and Translators

  • Zhang Kangkang, one of China’s most respected and beloved writers, has written numerous short stories, novellas, and novels. She currently serves as one of the vice-chairs of the Chinese Writers’ Association. Her works have been translated into English, French, German, and Japanese. 
  • Karen GERNANT, professor emerita of Chinese History at Southern Oregon University and Zeping CHEN, professor of linguistics at Fujian Normal University, collaborate on translations of contemporary Chinese fiction into English as well as numerous translations for American Literary magazines.

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