Fu Ping

A Novel

Wang Anyi. Translated by Howard Goldblatt

Columbia University Press

Fu Ping

Pub Date: August 2019

ISBN: 9780231193238

296 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $18.00£14.99

Pub Date: August 2019

ISBN: 9780231193221

296 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $60.00£50.00

Pub Date: August 2019

ISBN: 9780231550208

296 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $17.99£14.99

Fu Ping

A Novel

Wang Anyi. Translated by Howard Goldblatt

Columbia University Press

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.
Famed for her meticulous portrayals of female tenacity, ordinary citizens, and everyday minutia, she is both stylistically audacious and devoted to her subjects. Fu Ping, [Wang Anyi's] most recent novel to be translated into English, and taken into a wonderfully equal rendition by Howard Goldblatt, exemplifies the thematic and aesthetic constants prevalent in her oeuvre, while simultaneously creating an illumination of city and community that leaves remarkably deep impressions by way of its quietude. Xiao Yue Shan, Asymptote
Few writers have become as synonymous with Shanghai as Wang Anyi. . . . There is a Joycean celebration of memory in Wang’s writing, a belief in its ability to transcribe the sensual markers of a particular time and place. Brian Haman, Asian Review of Books
The universe that Wang Anyi builds with her prose is so exuberant that poetry also finds a place here, emanating as it does from the snippets of life as lived by that tapestry of characters who recount their collective story from the margins. In fact, the expressive capacity of Wang Anyi is such that, at times, the poetry becomes painting in her forging of literary Shanghai. Elena Martín Enebra, Modern Chinese Literature and Culture
Fu Ping is a fascinating look at what life was like for working-class women in Shanghai in the mid-20th century. . . . It’s an invaluable look at a world shaped by tradition but subject to changes brought by city life and shifting political structures. Rebecca Hussey, Book Riot
Praise for Wang Anyi: Wang Anyi is one of the most critically acclaimed writers in the Chinese-speaking world. Francine Prose, New York Times Book Review
Like Eileen Chang at her best, Wang Anyi’s Fu Ping—expertly translated by Howard Goldblatt—uses a network of characters linked by fate and happenstance to provide an unconventional portrait of midcentury Shanghai “from below.” Carlos Rojas, translator of the Man Booker International Prize-shortlisted novel The Four Books by Yan Lianke
Fu Ping celebrates the enduring values of China’s vast underclass through the story of an orphaned housekeeper who insists on her own choices. Deftly translated by Howard Goldblatt, this love song to Shanghai continues Wang Anyi’s evocation of women’s struggles for individuality and sensual freedom, and further establishes her as one of the world’s great writers. Douglas Unger, author of Leaving the Land and Voices from Silence
Cast with ordinary people and steeped in lyrical simplicity, Howard Goldblatt’s superb translation of Fu Ping commands a disarmingly quiet beauty. It is as if Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg had miraculously resurfaced, not in the cornfields of Ohio but in the shadows of Shanghai. Yunte Huang, editor of The Big Red Book of Modern Chinese Literature
Fu Ping is an enjoyable story, a novel using one young woman’s fate to evoke life in the Shanghai of long ago. Tony's Reading List

About the Author

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 Song of Everlasting Sorrow (Columbia, 2008), a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize. She is a professor of Chinese literature at Fudan University.

Howard Goldblatt, a Guggenheim Fellow, is an internationally renowned translator of Chinese fiction, including the novels of Mo Yan, the 2012 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.