List of Monumental sculpture projects 2015

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Sunday, 24 May 2009

Aileen Chang : "Xiao TuanYuan", reading as secondlife

Aileen Chang (Chang Ailing): "Xiao TuanYuan"

Famous last autobiographical fiction. Its the master key picture to all her novels. We see all the characters as themselves placed on the original master plan.

A friend who never liked Aileen Cheung said she couldnt finish this book, its so petty. I was reading it - a book i found at the airport in Taipei. This was a book I knew that I must read because I have already read and translated Cheungs work from when I first found her book as a teenager.
Yes, it is petty. But this pettiness is due to the contextual situation of Chinese people during the war - the transitional phase from the very rich upper echelon families steady sliding down into needy, opium dependant idle poor folks. And her mother - such an awesome beautiful woman, world voyager, small bound feet, speaking at times in English, lives on antiques, addressed her two children as if they were children of another - with lovers of all nationalities. What kind of world is this? Must have been difficult to understand.
This book is a sort of modern "Dream of Red Chamber" contains the twist and turns of glimpses of how a family topples into nothingness.

A central theme which attracts everyone is the love and romantic life of AC. For some reason, this part is supposedly to be the more interesting part, and because of this privacy, intimate life part - this book had been put on hold for so many years until now, finally I found not really that interesting afterall. It pales in todays rapid paced sex, love and no taboo multi cultural acceptance of happiness and suffering. Maybe because of this, for me, the precious part of her last master pieces remains to be the "petty" details of the lives of people of that age. Its a mini "Dream of Red Chamber", not because of lesser talent of the writer but because the setting was in a lesser time. The raw data in the original was not as spectacular. AC was not in the position of a privileged observer from an open-doored milieu unlike Chao XueQin, who was the star of his super powerful family. AC was the abandonned, ignored female child of an opium addict father and wanderlust mother.

AC's mother's story would have been another flower thats rich with details - but, too bad, she did not write a book.

Many people have interesting lives, but how many have time - would bother to share their experiences - to write a book?

I appreciate all honest story telling.

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