Land of Big Numbers by Te-Ping Chen
'Te-Ping Chen's Land of Big Numbers contains 10 illuminating, sharp stories set in China, penned by a former investigative reporter who worked in Beijing for several years' The Independent
'In this magnificent collection of stories, the author and former Beijing-based correspondent vividly captures the desires and losses of a richly drawn cast while drawing on the realities of contemporary China' Cosmopolitan
A dazzling debut collection which, deftly and urgently, tells the stories of those living in the biggest and most complicated country on earth. A brother competes for gaming glory while his twin sister exposes the dark side of the Communist government on her underground blog; a worker at a government call centre is alarmed one day to find herself speaking to a former lover; a delicious new fruit arrives at the neighbourhood market and the locals find it starts to affect their lives in ways they could never have imagined; and a young woman's dreams of making it big in Shanghai are stalled when she finds herself working as a florist. These are just some of the myriad lives to be evoked in The Land of Big Numbers, a collection of stories which - sometimes playfully, sometimes darkly - draws back the curtain on the realities of modern China and unveils a cast of characters as rich and complicated as any in world literature.
With virtuosic brilliance, Te-ping Chen sheds light on a country much talked about but little understood and announces the birth of a bright new star in the literary firmament. "A spectacular work, comic, timely, profound. Te-Ping Chen has a superb eye for detail in a China where transformation occurs simultaneously too fast and too slow for lives in pursuit of meaning in a brave new world.
Her characters are achingly alive. It's rare to read a collection so satisfying, where every story adds to a gripping and intricate world." Madeleine Thien, author of the Booker-shortlisted Do Not Say We Have Nothing
"Te-Ping Chen shows us how much life, loss, and quiet pleasure exists in the world, just out of view." Alexandra Kleeman