I didn't do so well with my NYRB subscription last year. I finished a handful of books and started a few more beyond that. There were several I wanted to read but just didn't manage. And a few that might not have been my first choice of subscription book for those titles released in a particular month. That said, I love this subscription, all those NYRBs that I get are worthy reads, though some will be outside my comfort zone or normal choice of novel. Part of why I subscribe is to expand my horizon and get a taste of world literature from all different eras. I also love that they have a good mix of stories, sometimes nonfiction and especially that many of the books are translations. This one is translated from Chinese.
Perhaps if each month I create a little fanfare with each new selection and post something special about the book I will be able to make more of a commitment to reading it. I really do want to read all the books, though if it doesn't happen in the month I get it, that's okay, too. I see the books as an investment and a happy addition to my own personal library. I can always reach for one of the books later (and in some cases that ends up being 'much' later).
January's book choice is by an author I have long wanted to read as I have heard many good things about her, Eileen Chang. I am not sure Little Reunions would ever have been my jumping off place for her work, and I do have several of her books already on my shelves, but I'm willing to dive in here. She sounds like she led an interesting life that straddled several different periods and cultures. She was born in Shanghai in 1920 and lived in Hong Kong for a time before ultimately ending up in the US. She's considered one of the most influential modern Chinese writers and I am excited to finally give her work a try.
As for Little Reunions the blurb reads in part:
" . . .a dark romance opens with Julie, living at a convent school in Hong Kong on the eve of the Japanese invasion. Her mother, Rachel, long divorced from Julie's opium-addict father, saunters around the world with various lovers. Recollections of Julie's horrifying but privileged childhood in Shanghai clash with a flamboyant, sometimes incestuous cast of relations that crowd her life. Eventually, back in Shanghai, she meets the magnetic Chih-yung, a traitor who collaborates with the Japanese puppet regime. Soon they’re in the throes of an impassioned love affair that swings back and forth between ardor and anxiety, secrecy and ruin. Like Julie’s relationship with her mother, her marriage to Chih-yung is marked by long stretches of separation interspersed with unexpected little reunions. Chang’s emotionally fraught, bitterly humorous novel holds a fractured mirror directly in front of her own heart."
There is a character list in the back of the book which is eight pages long! Should that make me nervous? There is nothing for it, but to just start reading! Is anyone else a NYRB Classics subscriber? Or have you read Eileen Chang before?