Falling in Love: Stories From Ming China

Patrick Hanan (editor)

translated from the Chinese by Patrick Hanan
University of Hawaii Press 2006
A book review by Danny Yee © 2007 http://dannyreviews.com/
Hanan includes a brief introduction in Falling in Love to Chinese marriage and the paradox of "a prescribed practice of arranged marriage existing alongside an imaginative literature glorifying romantic love". Footnotes explain historical and literary references. And an appendix offers two classical Ming short stories — written in classical rather than vernacular Chinese — which were the sources for stories in the collection.

The seven stories in Falling in Love can, however, stand by themselves, with the background not so foreign, even to those unfamiliar with the period, and the allusions mostly understandable from context. They are good entertainment, with variety in plot and mood. Most link scholars with the daughters of scholars, but in one a lower-class oil-seller woos a high-class courtesan, another features a butcher, and one describes a homosexual love affair; some incorporate mystery elements. And there is a mix of comedy, tragedy, and suspense.

Falling in Love also offers a perspective on the broader culture and society of Ming China, not just on romantic love.

December 2007

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Related reviews:
- Patrick Hanan - The Chinese Vernacular Story
- Feng Menglong - Stories from a Ming Collection: The Art of the Chinese Storyteller
- more Chinese literature
- more short fiction
- books published by University of Hawaii Press
%T Falling in Love
%S Stories From Ming China
%E Hanan, Patrick
%M Chinese
%F Hanan, Patrick
%I University of Hawaii Press
%D 2006
%O paperback
%G ISBN-13 9780824829957
%P 256pp