PERSONAL: Born in Budai, Tawain. Religion: Buddhist.
AWARDS, HONORS: United Daily literature competition winner, 1980, for Ch'ien chiang yu shui ch'ien chiang yueh.
Kuei hua hsiang (historical novel), Lien ho pao she (Taipei, Taiwan), 1977.
Leng chin chien, Huang kuan ch'lu pan she, [Taiwan], 1989.
Author of one other novel.
ADAPTATIONS: Kuei hua hsiang was filmed as Osmanthus Alley, directed by Chen Kun-hou, 1987.
SIDELIGHTS: Taiwanese author Hsiao Li-hung is well-known in her own country, and her novel A Thousand Moons on a Thousand Rivers won the author a measure of acclaim in the English-speaking world as well. Set in a coastal Taiwanese town during the 1970s, the novel celebrates middle-class provincial life through the story of Xiao Zhenguan. Zhenguan's first love is Liu Daxin, but when she leaves her provincial home to go to Taipei, the relationship fails to survive the separation, despite many letters between the two. The rituals and daily rhythms of provincial life are vividly drawn, and the couple's Confucian and Buddhist values are shown to be quite different from those of the Mandarin-speaking mainlanders. The influence of tradition on the characters' lives is clearly shown, and many colorful festivals and traditions are brought to life by the author.
Reviewing A Thousand Moons on a Thousand Rivers for World Literature Today, Philip F. C. Williams wrote that, "although the prevailing mood of harmony and reverence for tradition within Zhenguan's family and provincial hometown may strike some scholars as idealized, the novel incorporates enough family crises and twists and turns … to maintain an adequate level of dramatic tension." In China Review International, Shu-ning Sciban commented: "With its elegant and exquisitely detailed descriptions and noble, humane sentiments, A Thousand Moons on a Thousand Rivers undoubtedly has become one of the best-loved novels in the Chinese language. The original is highly recommended for university-level students of Chinese literature, while this translation will give the general public a better understanding of traditional Chinese and Taiwanese culture and Taiwanese literature."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
China Review International, spring, 2003, Shun-ning Sciban, review of A Thousand Moons on a Thousand Rivers, p. 181.
Choice, October, 2000, J. W. Walls, review of A Thousand Moons on a Thousand Rivers, p. 325.
World Literature Today, summer, 2000, Philip F. C. Williams, review of A Thousand Moons on a Thousand Rivers, p. 580.