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Chen, Ran 1962-

CHEN, Ran 1962-

PERSONAL: Born 1962, in China.

ADDRESSES: Home—Boxborough, MA. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Columbia University Press, 61 W. 62nd St., New York, NY 10023.

CAREER: Short story writer.

WRITINGS:

Wu Chu Gao Bie, Shi Dai Wen Yi Chu Ban She (Changchun, China), 1993.

Chen Ran Zuo Pin Zi Xuan Ji, Guang Ming Ri Bao Chu Ban She (Beijing, China), 1996.

Fan Qiang Dou Shi Men, Hua Yi Chu Ban She (Beijing, China), 1996.

Mi Huan Hua Yuan: Nü Xing Xin Li Ti Yan Xiao Shuo, Zhongguo Wen Lian Chu Ban Gong Si (Beijing, China), 1997.

Nü Xing Ti Yan Xiao Shuo, Beijing Shi Fan Da Xue Chu Ban She (Beijing, China), 1999.

Sha Lou Jie De Bu Yu, Shi Dai Wen Yi Chu Ban She (Changchun, China), 2001.

A Private Life, translated by John Howard-Gibbon, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 2004.

SIDELIGHTS: Long known in China for her short stories and novels, Ran Chen's A Private Life is the first to be translated into English. The story centers on "the inner life of a highly passive heroine, as seen against the turbulence of her country's recent past—in a first English translation from an acclaimed Chinese writer," as a Kirkus Reviews contributor explained. Ni Niuniu is a woman who lives a life of isolation after growing up with a cold and distant father, being seduced by an older woman, getting molested by her math teacher, Mr. Ti (who then proclaims his love for her), and being left behind by her college lover, who flees from China to Germany. At age twenty-six, she is diagnosed with a mental disorder, and from her bedroom window, she does indeed see a world that seems utterly alien. From the Cultural Revolution to the short-lived Tiananmen Square uprising, Chen provides a look at China's slow shift from absolutist communism to budding capitalism through the eyes of one tormented citizen. "Perhaps the state thinks she is going mad … but by the end of the book, the reader thinks she might just be going sane," concluded Elizabeth Gold in the Washington Post Book World.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, April 15, 2004, Allison Block, review of A Private Life, p. 1422.

Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2004, review of A Private Life, p. 284.

Library Journal, August, 2004, Sofia A. Tangalos, review of A Private Life, p. 64.

Publishers Weekly, May 31, 2004, review of A Private Life, p. 50.

Time, September 13, 2004, Jeff Plunkett, "Missing the Train."

Washington Post Book World, May 30, 2004, Elizabeth Gold, "New Novels of Love and Melancholy, from Poe's New York to Jiang's China," p. 13.

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