Half a Lifelong Romance by Eileen Chang
Shanghai, 1930s. Shen Shijun, a young engineer, has fallen in love with his colleague, the beautiful Gu Manzhen. He is determined to resist his family’s efforts to match him with his wealthy cousin so that he can marry her. But dark circumstances—a lustful brother-in-law, a treacherous sister, a family secret—force the two young lovers apart.
As Manzhen and Shijun go on their separate paths, they lose track of one another, and their lives become filled with feints and schemes, missed connections and tragic misunderstandings. At every turn, societal expectations seem to thwart their prospects for happiness. Still, Manzhen and Shijun dare to hold out hope—however slim—that they might one day meet again. A glamorous, wrenching tale set against the glittering backdrop of an extraordinary city, Half a Lifelong Romance is a beloved classic from one of the essential writers of twentieth-century China.
“Half a Lifelong Romance is broad in its scope and exceptionally moving in its characterizations, painting a picture of life in China in the 1930s. . . . Chang’s legacy as one of the most important Chinese writers of the 20th century is fully realized in this work. . . . Chang’s characters’ tragic yet sometimes comical attempts to navigate unfair expectations and maintain illusions of proper manners resonate with all readers regardless of background. These experiences are even reminiscent of the struggles of Jane Austen’s protagonists.” —The Kansas City Star
“The silences in this novel, set in 1930s Shanghai, emerge from an extraordinary sensitivity to language and its limitations. So many crucial words unheard or unsaid—a host of flames kindling and dying in silence.” —Helen Oyeyemi in The Week
“This novel, originally serialized in China in 1950, is translated into English for the first time: the story of star-crossed lovers in 1930s and ’40s Shanghai, kept apart by societal taboos and the scheming of their families.” —Newsday
Publisher: Vintage International