Posted 43 days ago
This was an awesome story. If you liked it, I'd also recommend reading Paul Yoon's story, Person of Korea, also published in The Atlantic. Both send us into an entirely different reality in the modern world.
Posted 107 days ago
There was a lot of times while reading this story that I thought "why do I like this?" Nothing much happens of importance, but Chen's descriptions of Shanghai and Xiaolei's life are so vivid that it's hard to out the story down.
She seems so helpless in this sprawling metropolis so far from her "dusty town." Although her life is an extreme, I think it makes us reflect on much of ours, often living in other cities, states, or countries in the hope of pursuing a job and "making it" (whatver that might mean).
Of course the idea of returning the pen is kind of silly, but it showcases how lonely she is in such a huge city so far from her family and previous life. I really enjoyed this story and thought it was very, very well-written. Chen could become a powerful writer with a stronger storyline.