How dull to have a gun and not shoot. Guns should be fired.

Fu Yuli / Nicky Harman

Running Through Beijing review in the LARB

Xu Zechen’s slim 2008 novel /Running Through Beijing/, recently translated into an English version published by Two Lines Press (2014), transported me back to that city and all its colorful inhabitants. The novel captures the taste and tension of Beijing better than any I’ve ever read. I felt the grit from Beijing’s frequent sandstorms sting my eyes. I savored on my tongue again the spicy mutton of a hotpot joint. Readers will internalize the restlessness and loneliness of young strivers. And Eric Abrahamsen’s translation is so deft, it’s hard to remember that it wasn’t originally written in English. He especially executes slang-filled dialogue with pizzazz.

attached to: Xu Zechen


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