“You’re stepping on my shadow, please back off,” she said.

Sun Yisheng / Nicky Harman

Eric Abrahamsen

worldcat / academia

Eric has lived in Beijing since late 2001, when he studied Chinese at the Central University for Nationalities. He began struggling through Wang Xiaobo at an early date, and kept at it through the intervening years. He is the recipient of a PEN translation grant for Wang Xiaobo's My Spiritual Homeland and a NEA grant for Xu Zechen's Running Through Zhongguancun, later published as Running Through Beijing.


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Novels (2)

Essays (2)

Short stories (15)

As Editor


Dinner at Feng Tang's

By Eric Abrahamsen, July 3, '07

From left to right: our gracious host, Feng Tang, Lao Xiao of CCTV, and Lao Luo, once a famous English teacher, not sure what he does these days.

And here is Wang Xiaoshan – blogger, long-suffering journalist, and good man in disguise – author Xu Xing, and Ai Dan (?), who everyone assumed I had heard of, though I hadn't.

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The Bane of Our Existence

By Eric Abrahamsen, June 24, '07

Words Without Borders has a new Chinese short story, The Bane of My Existence by Can Xue, translated by Karen Gernant and Chen Zeping. It's good to see more Chinese material coming out, but I can't say it deserves the effusive praise that accompanies it. The "hell cat tortures owner" plot feels like a whopping three parts symbolism to one part story, while the piece ends like this, with a sentence made of pure plywood: "All I knew was that I couldn’t bear to even imagine everything the future would bring." Arggh!

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Editors: what are they good for?

By Eric Abrahamsen, June 2, '07

During a long dinner with Lu Li and her husband a few weeks ago, she further confirmed something that I've suspected for a while: editors at Chinese publishing houses generally don't edit. Proofread – yes; censor – most definitely. But as for actual editing… She said the best she got was typically along the lines of "we like this story", or "this one's boring in the middle". There may be publishers out there who take the time to understand a writer's work, and help bring it closer to its ideal state, but they appear to be in the minority.

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Welcome, and pardon the mess

By Eric Abrahamsen, June 1, '07

Many thanks to Jenny Niven and Time Out Beijing for the article – as you can see we’re still in the process of setting up shop. Things are a little thin at the moment, but please stop by over the next week as we get underway, or better yet subscribe to the RSS feed on the right. Thanks for visiting!

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