Book Details

Google preview button
    • February 2002
    • 9780231120975
  • 272 Pages
  • 43 Illustrations

  • Paperback
  • $25.00


    • August 2000
    • 9780231120968
  • 272 Pages
  • 43 Illustrations

  • Hardcover
  • $80.00


    • August 2000
    • 9780231500050
  • 272 Pages
  • 43 Illustrations

  • E-book
  • $24.99

Wild Kids

Two Novels About Growing Up

Chang Ta-chun. Translated by Michael Berry

These two searingly funny and unsettling portraits of teenagers beyond the control and largely beneath the notice of adults in 1980s Taiwan are the first English translations of works by Taiwan's most famous and best-selling literary cult figure. Chang Ta-chun's intricate narrative and keen, ironic sense of humor poignantly and piercingly convey the disillusionment and cynicism of modern Taiwanese youth.

Interweaving the events between the birth of the narrator's younger sister and her abortion at the age of nineteen, the first novel, My Kid Sister, evokes the complex emotional impressions of youth and the often bizarre social dilemmas of adolescence. Combining discussions of fate, existentialism, sexual awakening, and everyday "absurdities" in a typically dysfunctional household, it documents the loss of innocence and the deconstruction of a family.

In Wild Child, fourteen-year-old Hou Shichun drops out of school, runs away from home, and descends into the Taiwanese underworld, where he encounters an oddball assortment of similarly lost adolescents in desperate circumstances. This novel will inevitably invite comparisons with the classic The Catcher in the Rye, but unlike Holden Caulfield, Hou isn't given any second chances. With characteristic frankness and irony, Chang's teenagers bear witness to a new form of cultural and spiritual bankruptcy.

About the Author

Chang Ta-chun is among Taiwan's premier contemporary authors. His prolific and varied output has transformed him from a cult literary figure into a virtual celebrity in Taiwan, where he produces and hosts a television program on literature. He has published twenty-one books since his emergence on the literary scene almost two decades ago and has taught at the Iowa Writer's Workshop. He lives in Taiwan and maintains a home in Iowa, where he spends several months of the year.Michael Berry is a doctoral candidate in modern Chinese literature at Columbia University. He is the translator of several works, including the forthcoming novel To Live by Yu Hua.

Chang is an astute observer and perceptive cultural critic...English readers will easily identify with the sentiments and circumstances portrayed by Chang and skillfully translated by Berry.

Sylvia Li-chun Lin, University of Colorado, Denver

Ghoulish, playful, totally subversive.

Emily Gordon

In two jaunty, disturbing novellas from Taiwan... Chang Ta-chun presents us with disaffected adolescents who roam city streets, complain about school, fantasize about gangster life, and wear Chicago Bulls T-shirts.

Maureen McLane

Chang writes accessible, knowing and very funny fiction about youth and screwed-up families--some of the best of its kind.... My Kid Sister... could be America's next teen classic.

It's a considerable feat to have kids spout off about existentialism and not have them sound pretentious. Or high.

Barbara Spindel

Wild Kids turned out to be not only the window on Taiwan I was looking for, but also a quick and enjoyable summer read. It is not without depth nor short of something to sink your teeth into.

Jonathan S. Landreth

This novel will inevitably invite comparisons with the classic The Catcher in the Rye.

Churning out political thrillers, martial arts short stories, hard-boiled detective mysteries, a sci-fi, collection, and just about every other genre since 1976, Chang Ta-chun is a literary celebrity in Taiwan.

Martin Wong

Translator's IntroductionMy Kid SisterA Present Just for MeNauseaA New Breed of WomanFirst LoveHer TabooOn TreatmentAll That Remains Is Our Shell of FleshListening Intently and Telling StoriesThe Awakening of LaughterChronicle of DeathEnding in InsanityWild ChildFriendsThe BeginningIn the StreetsIn the Heart of the NightStoriesGamesGood-for-nothingsThe HandgunAnnieThe PastOn the RooftopBrothersMistakesThe HotelThe PortChangesThe PosterSecretsThe WindowHappinessLearningFrom BirthPitifulThe CelebrityThe AdoptionThe NegotiationThe BirthdayAnd SupposingForgetting