I Live in the Slums – An Extract

We are delighted by the news that Can Xue’s I Live in the Slums, translated by Karen Gernant and Chen Zeping, has been longlisted for the 2021 International Booker Prize!

Can Xue, meaning ‘dirty, leftover snow’, is the pseudonym of the renowned avant‑garde author Deng Xiaohua. Formerly a tailor, she began writing in 1983, trying to produce works that combine Chinese and western elements. In I Live in the Slums, Can Xue combines elements of Chinese materiality and Western abstract thinking to create an immersive landscape that conflates fact and illusion, blends the physical and spiritual, and probes the space between consciousness and oblivion. These enchanting stories explore China’s urban geography whilst dissolving the boundaries of selfhood and nationality.

This extract is part one of ‘Story of the Slums’.

I Live in the Slums is a major new collection of stories by one of the most exciting and creative voices in contemporary Chinese literature.

Can Xue’s previous books include Five Spice Street, Vertical Motion, The Last Lover, Frontier, and Love in the New Millennium. Karen Gernant is professor emerita of Chinese history at Southern Oregon University. Chen Zeping is professor of Chinese linguistics at Fujian Normal University, Fuzhou.

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