The Moon Opera

Bi Feiyu, Author, Howard Goldblatt, Translator, Sylvia Li-chun Lin, Translator , trans. from the Chinese by Howard Goldblatt and Sylvia Li-chun Lin. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt $18 (117p) ISBN 978-0-15-101294-7

A peerless singer in the Peking Opera is ruined by her jealousy of her understudy in this vividly sketched tale of art and money by Chinese screenwriter (Shanghai Triad ) and novelist Feiyu. In 1979, 20 years before the novel takes place, the actress Xiao Yanqiu debuted brilliantly and memorably as the lead in The Moon Opera , although she soon wrecked her career when she attacked her understudy’s teacher in a fit of rage at sharing the spotlight. Now 40, unhappily married and overweight, Xiao is offered the chance to reprise her role in a new production bankrolled by a factory owner and former fan. Xiao, who assumes the role to perfection, chooses as her understudy a gifted student, Chunlai, who postpones a TV career for the promise of the stage. The scene is set for a terrible showdown, naturally, complicated by the clash between art and money, as exemplified by the crass interests of the factory owner. The novel’s slimness, simple storytelling and overarching morality lend it a fable-like air, with Xiao filling the role of its tormented star. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 10/27/2008
Release date: 01/01/2009
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 128 pages - 978-0-547-24982-7
Open Ebook - 45 pages - 978-1-84659-128-0
Open Ebook - 128 pages - 978-0-547-52541-9
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