About the Book
Steeped in a long history of violence and suffering, Michael X. Wang’s debut collection of short stories interrogates personal and political events set against the backdrop of China that are both real and perceived, imagined and speculative. Wang plunges us into the fictional Chinese village of Xinchun and beyond to explore themes of tradition, family, modernity, and immigration in a country grappling with its modern identity. Further News of Defeat is rich with characters who have known struggle and defeat and who find themselves locked in pivotal moments of Chinese history—such as World War II and the Tiananmen Square massacre—as they face losses of the highest order and still find cause for revival.
Praise for Further News of Defeat
Longlisted for the 2021 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Story Story Collection
These stories…reveal a specific perspective on love, loss, tragedy, and triumph. The characters seem to face drastic choices, and because he’s a good storyteller, Wang doesn’t lead them down the right paths, knowing there’s a much better tale down the wrong turn.
In Further News of Defeat, Michael X. Wang reveals a remarkable ability to move fluidly through time periods and points of view, all with such a clear and vibrant voice—the stories then sing on a sentence level while also illuminating the world at large. There’s big ambition here, but shown through these small moments and stylistic flourishes, and the combination is both graceful and exciting, a tumbling between micro and macro, between individual and society, scene and era.
—Aimee Bender, author of An Invisible Sign of My Own
Michael X. Wang’s debut collection is a masterful amalgam of heart, brutality, and irony. Wang sees deeply into his subject. With offhand precision, his stories present a vision of recent China that feels utterly genuine even when he is raucously, indubitably inventing. This is political fiction of a high caliber.
—Sharon Solwitz, author of Once, in Lourdes
Michael X. Wang’s Further News of Defeat is a collection of deeply researched and engrossing, wonderfully evocative and moving short stories about the people of a particular village in China and the migration of their descendants to urban centers and new lands. What’s extraordinary about this book is how it also reads like a distilled epic bringing to life the great clash of tradition and progress in a half-century of dizzyingly rapid change in the world’s most populous country. A beautiful, assured, and unforgettable debut.
—Porter Shreve, author of The End of the Book