The Old Capital: A Novel of Taipei by Chu T’ien-hsin, translated by Howard Goldblatt [in Bloomsbury Review]
Four short stories and a longer novella are linked together to create a mosaic of disparate voices that share a visceral longing for a time – and place – forever past. Chu adroitly leads readers through a contemporary Taiwan displaced by Japanese colonial overtones mixed with inescapable Western cultural influences.
Chu’s book is an exercise in chaotic cultural survival, from “Death in Venice,” about a young writer who finds himself more involved with his characters than his own life, to “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” in which a young office worker decides she will spend her bonus on the perfect Tiffany diamond ring, to the book’s titled story, “The Old Capital,” about a young woman who travels to Kyoto to meet an old friend, which causes her to reconsider her life since she and the friend were young students together.
Published: 2007 (United States)