Zero and Other Fictions
Huang Fan burst onto Taiwan's literary scene in the 1980s, publishing pointed urban portraits and political satires that captured the reading public's attention. After decades of innovative work, he is now one of Asia's most celebrated authors, crucial to understanding the development of Taiwanese literature over the past fifty years.
The first collection of Huang Fan's work to appear in English, this anthology includes Zero, a prize-winning dystopian novella echoing George Orwell's chilling 1984. Set in a postapocalyptic world, Zero features Xi De, a young man raised in an elite community who risks everything to challenge his society's charismatic leader and technocratic rule. Huang Fan's novella poignantly illustrates the quandary of an idealistic man trapped among conflicting claims to truth, unsure whether to think of himself as heroic or foolish in his ultimate choice of resistance and sacrifice.
This anthology also features three critically acclaimed short stories: "Lai Suo," which established Huang Fan's reputation as a groundbreaking author; "The Intelligent Man"; and "How to Measure the Width of a Ditch." In "Lai Suo," a naïve individual becomes the pawn of powerful men intent on political advancement. In "How to Measure the Width of a Ditch," an unreliable narrator spins an absurdist, metafictional tale of his childhood in Taipei, and in "The Intelligent Man," Huang Fan weaves an allegorical satire about political reunification set against a backdrop of Taiwanese migration to the United States, with a trenchant look at expanding business interests in mainland China and Southeast Asia. All together, these remarkable works portray the tensions and aspirations of modern Taiwan.