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Apologies Forthcoming

4.54 of 5 stars 4.54  ·  rating details  ·  50 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Fiction. Asian Studies. This sometimes disturbing, always illuminating collection of stories centers around China's Cultural Revolution and its aftermath, which, as we learn, continues even today, with both sides still hold out, and with "apologies forthcoming." Xujun Eberlein lived in China during that tumultuous period and now makes her home in America. "Xujun Eberlein i ...more
Hardcover, 141 pages
Published June 1st 2008 by Livingston Press (AL) (first published May 30th 2008)
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I thought I'd reviewed this already. Oh well.

This is an impressive debut. It's not just the writing, which is careful and concise, but the package in its entirety, a (partial) explanation through stories of people and places which I recognize from history books, but knew little about before I read this book. I look forward to Xujun's memoir when it's published.
Aug 02, 2008 Donna rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historical fiction, Asia, excellent short stories, China
This impressive collection of short stories gives the reader a glimpse into the world of China’s Cultural Revolution and its legacy. Reformed Red Guards, city kids “inserted” in impoverished farming villages, educated women looking for love with men who find them “too high to reach,” all grapple with the harsh realities of the times that are guaranteed to reveal any character to its depths. Xujun Eberlein’s witty, economical and often breathtaking prose makes for many memorable moments: a girl’s ...more
This is a first book from a Chinese American author whose first book does not disappoint. Apologies covers tough territory: predominantly rural China during and after the cultural revolution. There is a bit of similarity between the protagonists of the individual stories but Eberlein overcomes that through her ability to get to the unique core of each character. They are primarily educated women "relocated" to rural areas, but despite those commonalities they all have a unique (and often sad) pa ...more
Dec 04, 2008 Pamela rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
A powerful collection of stories taking place during and after the Cultural Revolution in China. Intimate, melancholy, comic, sensuous, the stories cover a broad range: the mysterious, short-lived career of a promising poet ("Snow Line"); the fate of an urban teenager sent to work in a peasant collective in the countryside ("Disciple of the Masses"); the accidental meeting, years later in the U.S., of two members of rival revolutionary factions ("Second Encounter"). Social history informs every ...more
Sep 05, 2008 Susan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: general readership.
Loved this collection. Deceptively simply-written tales that carried me into the eras of and after China's disastrous Cultural Revolution. There's an authenticity to each setting, character and situation that attests to Xujun's experiences, but each story is truly a story, compelling and complicated at heart.
I loved this collection of short stories about people who grew up during the Cultural Revolution. Rather than focusing on the devastating policies back then, Xujun Eberlein instead centers in on the emotions of the people who suffered through those years--and how they would never be the same afterward. If you know all about the Cultural Revolution, or even if you've never heard of Jiang Qing, you'll enjoy these stories for the powerful story-telling.
When I was 21, in 1968, I thought I had to reject adults in order to make the world a better place. I didn't know that on the other side of the world, a billion Chinese were in a frenzy to do the same thing. Mao's Cultural Revolution was in full swing, and educated families became the enemies of the state. This book of short stories brings those times to life, through the eyes of a young intellectual girl in a world that had turned against education.
Great set of intelligently written fiction stories about life during and after the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Some awkwardness in sentence structure, but sad and thought-provoking, the stories show how the average person was greatly affected by this huge feat of brainwashing. No holds barred, this is how it was and what it was like after. Wow.
Xujun's characters are living their lives as best they can in turbulent times. Her Chinese-inflected English often made me stop and savor words or expressions
Moving and masterfully told stories of ordinary people caught up in the side-effects of the Cultural Revolution. Highly recommended.
A very human look at the impact of the cultural revolution! Eberlein has a gift for storytelling and a skill with prose.
Jul 02, 2008 Sue rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Sue by: Xujun!
Review forthcoming.

For now I will say that this work is delicately written, and heartbreakingly beautiful.
Hannah Holborn
Xujun's sublime short stories explode the western-centric worldview. Here is 'other'.
Wonderful storytelling. At the end of each story I felt like I'd read a novel. (You know that feeling when you finish a good novel, close the covers, breathe out and blink, like you're returning to the real world again?) I think that's due to the depth of the characters, and the breadth invoked even in the 'simplest' and shortest pieces. I also learned a lot about the Cultural Revolution - good to expand knowledge while richly entertained, no?

The story 'Second Encounter' was especially moving -
Each story in Xujun Eberlein’s Apologies Forthcoming is set within or haunted by the Chinese Cultural revolution, invoking the specters of Chairman Mao and political oppression. Many of the stories share two additional similarities: young women whose high intelligence becomes a liability for marriage prospects, and the forced relocation of urbanities to villages (referred to as “inserting”). ..."

Read the rest of John Fox's review on The Short Review.
These stories put love, desire, and the aftermath of the Cultural Revolution in a pressure cooker and then leave the room.
Rich beautiful language that feels completely natural when a lesser writer would have sounded precious. She's really funny too.
Excellent, powerful collections of story that educate and entertain. An interesting, fast read.
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Writers and Readers : Apologies Forthcoming 2 24 May 02, 2013 09:50AM  
review by Alabama Writers's Forum 1 10 Jul 21, 2008 06:41PM  
book trailer 1 4 Jul 14, 2008 11:44AM  
PIF Magazine Interview on "Apologies" 1 4 Jun 21, 2008 07:43AM  
Xujun Eberlein is the author of the award-winning story collection href=" Forthcoming. A native of Chongqing, China now living in the Boston area, she is also a widely read essayist and blogger on China. Her stories and essays have appeared in many magazines in the United States, and also in Canada, England, Kenya, and Hong Kong.

Xujun's literary awards incl
More about Xujun Eberlein...
Los Angeles Review of Books - Digital Editions: China Stories (Issue #10)

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