The Book of Shanghai


As the end of the world arrives in downtown Shanghai, one man’s only wish is to return a library book…

When a publisher agrees to let a star author use his company’s attic to write in, little does he suspect this will become the author’s permanent residence…

As Shanghai succumbs to a seemingly apocalyptic deluge, a man takes refuge in his bathtub, only to find himself, moments later, floating through the city’s streets…

The characters in this literary exploration of one of the world’s biggest cities are all on a mission. Whether it is responding to events around them, or following some impulse of their own, they are defined by their determination – a refusal to lose themselves in a city that might otherwise leave them anonymous, disconnected, alone. 

From the neglected mother whose side-hustle in collecting sellable waste becomes an obsession, to the schoolboy determined to end a long-standing feud between his family and another, these characters show a defiance that reminds us why Shanghai – despite its hurtling economic growth –remains an epicentre for individual creativity.

Edited by Dai Congrong & Dr Jin Li

Featuring Wang Anyi, Xiao Bai, Shen Dacheng, Chen Danyan, Cai Jun, Chen Qiufan, Xia Shang, Teng Xiaolan, Fu Yuehui & Wang Zhanhei

Translated by: Lee Anderson, Yu Yan Chen, Jack Hargreaves, Paul Harris, Frances Nichol, Christopher Macdonald, Carson Ramsdell, Josh Stenberg, Katherine Tse, and Helen Wang.

Further reading

Read: Ah Fang’s lamp by Wang Anyi, Bookanista

Review: The Book of Shanghai – A City in Short Fiction, Books and Bao

Prompt: Go on a brisk walk for thirty minutes and observe the world around you. Make note of all the details, no matter how small or inconsequential and allow ideas to form. When you return home write an entire short story in a single sitting.

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