The April 3rd Incident

Yu Hua, trans. from the Chinese by Allan H. Barr. Pantheon, $25.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-5247-4706-0
This accomplished, genre-bending collection from Yu (The Seventh Day) is full of mistaken identities, karmic retribution, and an increasingly paranoid state of existence. Collected from work written by the author in the 1980s and ’90s, the stories are formally experimental, indicative of a burgeoning period in Chinese literature and society. In the title story, Yu takes the reader on a Calvino-esque journey of time loops, characters who are not as they are purported to be, and conspiracy theories, as the protagonist grows suspicious that his friends and family around him are in on a long con that will come to a head on April 3rd. Yu’s devastating wit and morbid humor are on full display in his shorter works, such as “Death Chronicle,” in which a truck driver who was involved in a tragic hit-and-run accident over 10 years ago finds himself in a similar situation; in an attempt to do the right thing, his intentions are instead seen as malicious. In “A History of Two People,” Yu traces the lifetimes of two characters who, though separated by socioeconomic status, dream the same dream. Alternatively bizarre, surreal, humorous, and unexpectedly poignant, Yu’s collection will satisfy fans and readers new to his writing alike. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/17/2018
Release date: 11/13/2018
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-525-43562-4
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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