“Big boys, the story in this little book is told for you.”
Thus begins the preface to Zhang Tianyi’s The Pidgin Warrior (Balestier Press, 2017), as translated by the wonderful David Hull. Not just for boys (big or small), The Pidgin Warrior is a moving, hilarious novel set in 1930s Shanghai during wartime. Hull’s translation is a sensitive and humane rendering of characters that are by turns laughable and heartbreaking, coming together in a story about what it is to be a hero – or just to be a functional human being – in times of personal and social upheaval. We spoke about the book for the New Books in East Asian Studies podcast, and you can listen to the conversation here.