Wang Anyi. Fu Ping: A Novel
Translated by Howard Goldblatt (2019)
Nainai has lived in Shanghai for many years, and the time has come to find a wife for her adopted grandson. But when the bride she has chosen arrives from the countryside, it soon becomes clear that the orphaned girl has ideas of her own. Her name is Fu Ping, and the more she explores the residential lanes and courtyards behind Shanghai’s busy shopping streets, the less she wants to return to the country as a dutiful wife. As Fu Ping wavers over her future, she learns the city through the stories of the nannies, handymen, and garbage collectors whose labor is bringing life and bustle back to postwar Shanghai.
Fu Ping is a keenly observed portrait of the lives of lower-class women in Shanghai in the early years of the People’s Republic of China. Wang Anyi, one of contemporary China’s most acclaimed authors, explores the daily lives of migrants from rural areas and other people on the margins of urban life. In shifting perspectives rich in detail and psychological insight, she sketches their aspirations, their fears, and the subtle ties that bind them together. In Howard Goldblatt’s masterful translation, Fu Ping reveals Wang Anyi’s precise renderings of history, class, and the human heart.
Wang Anyi grew up in Shanghai and began her career as a writer in 1978 after being sent to the countryside during the Cultural Revolution. Her books in English include the Weatherhead Book on Asia The Song of Everlasting Sorrow (Columbia, 2008), a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize. She is a professor of Chinese literature at Fudan University.