All things old China - books, anecdotes, stories, podcasts, factoids & ramblings from the author Paul French

Lin Xinwu’s The Wedding Party

Posted: November 18th, 2021 | No Comments »

Lin Xinwu’s The Wedding Party (translated by Jeremy Tiang) is a lovely evocation of early 1980s Beijing hutong life…

On a December morning in 1982, the courtyard of a Beijing siheyuan―a lively quadrangle of homes―begins to stir. Auntie Xue’s son Jiyue is getting married today, and she is determined to make the day a triumph. Despite Jiyue’s woeful ignorance in matters of the heart―and the body. Despite a chef in training tasked with the onerous responsibility of preparing the banquet. With a cross-generational multitude of guests, from anxious family members to a fretful bridal party―not to mention exasperating friends, interfering neighbors, and wedding crashers―what will the day ahead bring?

Set at a pivotal point after the turmoil of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Liu Xinwu’s tale weaves together a rich tapestry of characters, intertwined lives, and stories within stories. The Wedding Party is a touching, hilarious portrait of life in this singular city, all packed into a Beijing courtyard on a single day that manages to be both perfectly normal and utterly extraordinary at the same time.

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