Shen Congwen (1902-1988) is one of the most influential writers in China's modern history. His novel Border Town was banned under Mao's regime, only to become an inspiration to a new generation of Chinese writers in the late twentieth century. The beautifully written novel is considered Shen's masterpiece for its brilliant portrayal of Chinese rural life before the Communist revolution.
Border Town brings to life the story of Cuicui, a young country girl coming of age during a time of national turmoil. Like any teenager, Cuicui dreams of romance and finding true love. Cuicui and her grandfather, a ferryman with whom Cuicui lives after the death of her mother, lead a quiet life transporting passengers across a small river near the mountain town of Chadong in Hunan. Cuicui catches the eye of the two sons of a wealthy merchant who both begin to woo her. Shen vividly describes the fascinating local custom of night serenades between lovers and the songs Cuicui and the ferryman sing together and paints rapturous images of nature and the joyful sounds of peasant life in this vivid window into China's past.
Discussion leader: Dagmar Borchard
*Please note that this is a book discussion; the author will not be present*
*The dress code for the RAS Library is business casual; please no shorts, flip-flops, jeans with holes, etc.*
ENTRANCE: Complimentary for RAS Members / 50 RMB for Non-Members