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The stubborn porridge and other stories
by Meng Wang
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Wang Meng became a cause celebre when he became the first Chinese citizen to sue the official journal of the Chinese Writer's Union for libelous attacks on his short story "The Stubborn Porridge," (also known as "Hard Porridge"), the first in this collection of ten. In this title story a traditional Chinese family's four generations come into conflict when trying to adapt to the modern world, questioning even such a seemingly simple matter as breakfast. Adopting a Western-style breakfast in lieu of their time-honored menu of pickles and porridge is the first of many changes. The stories in this collection all employ fable-like plots as comprehensive allegories for complex social and political issues in contemporary China. Lightening his stories with parody, paradox, and word play, Wang Meng reveals the humanity, the understanding and the compassion, that lie at the heart of controversial issues. Other stories in this volume include "The Wind on the Plateau," "Thrilling," and "A Winter's Topic.".
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