We’re excited to share that The Carolina Quarterly recently reviewed Michael X. Wang‘s short story collection Further News of Defeat, winner of the 2021 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection. In this review, Rose Lambert-Sluder notes Wang’s careful approach to writing physical, sexual, and cultural violence, as well as Further News’s broader interest in the discomfort of historical realities:
Wang’s stories about a shifting modern China are never comfortable. They scratch like burlap, or like what I imagine empty sorghum sacks—which one character uses as luggage—feel like. They are unsettling, often brutal, sometimes tender, always plainspoken. Violence, including sexual violence, runs through them as an undercurrent. Yet as a storyteller, Wang’s sensitivity is evident. Wang, who was born in the small coal-mining village of Fenyang in Shanxi Province and immigrated to the U.S. as a child, attends to the book’s inquiries with heart.
…(Further News of Defeat) asks that we not toss Xinchun and rural China into the bin of elsewhere. It asks us to see our country’s dysfunctions, to see its pork blood and other garbage, and to consider how we might find likeness in Xinchun, a complex place whose citizens have to navigate inequity as if survival is not a given for everyone. Which, of course, it isn’t.
We’re very grateful to Rose Lambert-Sluder and The Carolina Quarterly for this heartfelt and compelling review of Further News of Defeat. You can read the full review here.