Reviews 283 other non-Western countries, Taiwan's modernists of fhe fifties and sixties en- deavored to reinvent a form ofhigh art in a cultural environment ravaged by war and economic hardship. As a piece of mature modernist fiction written in the Chinese language, the novel anticipated the more widely known modernist-influenced literary works in the People's Republic of China since fhe eighties. For general readers in this country who are not particularly concerned with the trajectories of cross-cultural literary influences, the novel can be enjoyed as a first-rate work of art. The poetic vividness with which the hero's chüdhood experience and die city of Taipei in the early years of its metropolitan transformation are depicted offers gratifying aesthetic pleasure. At the same time, the reader is in- vited to empathize with fhe constrained human condition in a modernizing "third-world" milieu and widi the way poverty, conjoined with a claustrophobic cultural ambiance, gnaws relentlessly at fhe delicate sensibility of the young would-be-artist hero. Finally, Family Catastrophe is ideal for adoption by coUege literature courses that transcend the boundaries of fhe Western canon. Sung-sheng Yvonne Chang The University of Texas at Austin Sung-sheng Y. Chang is an associate professor ofChinese and
China Review International – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Mar 30, 1997
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