The Bindery is thrilled to host Yang Huang for the launch of her linked family story collection My Old Faithful, winner of the Juniper Prize for Fiction. With Yang in conversation is Kaitlin Solimine. Please join us!
Yang Huang in conversation with Kaitlin Solimine (author of Empire of Glass)
The ten short stories, which take place in China and the US over three decades, depict what Huang calls the “grass people” of China -- middle-class citizens with little political clout who struggle to make their voices heard. In particular she focuses on one close-knit family, offering narratives from the mother, the father, the son and the daughters. They merge to paint a textured portrait of family life, full of pain, surprises, and subtle acts of courage.
With quiet humor and sharp insights, My Old Faithful shows both the drama of familial intimacy and the ups and downs of the everyday, all playing out against the backdrop of tremendous social change. Huang writes of a father who spanks his son out of love, a brother who betrays his sister, and a young woman who dares bring a brown man home to her conservative parents. There’s an aging wife who shows kindness to a young prostitute caught soliciting her husband; a woman returning to China after many years to find her country changed in ways both expected and startling.
Huang is an engineer who grew up in Jiangsu province in China, moved to the US to attend Boston College and University of Arizona, and now works at University of California, Berkeley. Her formative experiences in the democracy movement and the 1989 student uprising taught her that “one can strive to live with dignity and honor in an unjust society.” Her fiction carries in it this undercurrent of everyday human bravery.
"Yang Huang has another winner in her second book, My Old Faithful....a rich contemporary narrative of family dynamics and social upheaval."
―The Mercury News
"My Old Faithful zooms readers straight into the minds and hearts of each member of a middle-class family in a struggling, censored, restricted China....Customary want, state-imposed strictures and impetuous generosity play out against beautifully painted landscapes and seasons....we feel ourselves becoming each protagonist in the course of each story."
―San Francisco Chronicle, and Recommended Reading
“My Old Faithful establishes Yang Huang as one of our most provocative writers on contemporary China. Imagine Ferrante telling a family’s story from prismatic perspectives and you come close to Huang’s triumph. Here you find a debut writer adept at sidestepping the timeworn: she gives us a story so real it bursts the bounds of the form, becoming an autofiction which, in its humanity, quickly becomes yours as well.” — Edie Meidav, Juniper Prize for Fiction judge and author of Kingdom of the Young
Yang Huang grew up in China’s Jiangsu province and participated in the 1989 student uprisings. Her debut novel, Living Treasures, won the Nautilus Book Award silver medal in fiction, and her essays and short stories have appeared in The Margins, Eleven Eleven, Asian Pacific American Journal, the Evansville Review, Futures, Porcupine Literary Arts Magazine, and Nuvein. She lives in the Bay Area and works for the University of California, Berkeley.
Kaitlin Solimine has been a Fulbright Fellow in China, and has received several scholarships, awards, and residencies for her writing, including the 2012 Dzanc Books/Disquiet International Literary Program award for an earlier draft of Empire of Glass, judged by Colson Whitehead. Her fiction has been published in Guernica, the Kartika Review, and numerous anthologies. Kaitlin is co-founder of HIPPO Reads, a network connecting academic insights and scholars to the wider public. She resides in San Francisco with her husband and daughter, where she was a 2016 SF Grotto Writing Fellow.
This is an all ages event. The bar opens at 7, event begins at 7:30pm.