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Apologies Forthcoming Paperback – May 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 141 pages
  • Publisher: Livingston Press; First Edition edition (May 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 160489007X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1604890075
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 6.3 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #233,322 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

A totally illuminating collection of stories centered around China's Cultural Revolution and its aftermath, which, as we learn, continues even today. Xujun Eberlein lived in China during that turmoil and now makes her home in America. This, her first story collection, is both disturbing and enthralling.

About the Author

Xujun Eberlein grew up in Chongqing, China, and moved to the United States in the summer of 1988. After receiving a Ph.D. from MIT in the spring of 1995, and winning an award for her dissertation, she joined a small but ambitious high tech company. On Thanksgiving 2003, she gave up algorithms for writing. She has since won a bunch of literary awards. Her debut story collection Apologies Forthcoming won the 2007 Tartt Fiction Award and was published in June 2008. She is the recipient of a 2008 artist fellowship in fiction/creative nonfiction from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

More About the Author

Xujun Eberlein grew up in Chongqing, China, and moved to the United States in the summer of 1988. After receiving a Ph.D. from MIT in the spring of 1995, and winning an award for her dissertation, she joined a small but ambitious high tech company. On Thanksgiving 2003, she gave up algorithms for writing. She has since won a bunch of literary awards. Her stories and personal essays have been published in the United States, Canada, England, Kenya, and Hong Kong, in magazines such as AGNI, Walrus, PRISM International, StoryQuarterly, Stand, and Kwani. Her debut story collection "Apologies Forthcoming" won the 2007 Tartt Fiction Award and was published in June 2008. She is the recipient of a 2008 artist fellowship in fiction/creative nonfiction from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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She seems to ask if they can learn more from one another's ways.
cyn teed
Eberlein's stories reveal the impact of the revolution on the individual and how it shaped the decisions and actions both during and well after the revolution.
Kindle Customer
Xujun Eberlein's sensitive and subtle stories have an amazing depth and clarity.
Anna Sidak

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kirsten on June 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
In Aplogies Forthcoming, Xujun Eberlein describes a world where intelligent women have such limited choices that they consider suicide, children are sent from their homes to labor in far away fields, and men do not apologize for destroying each others property and dreams. Set during and after China's Cultural Revolution, this well written collection of eight stories tells tales of individual hardship: Sail, whose older sister dies serving in the Red Guard; Ou Homg, whose father is accused of being a "capitalist roader" and publicly humiliated; Wang Qiang, who tries and fails to bring his brother back to his home from the countryside; and others, whose stories are no less compelling. Despite hard times, the characters search for love and fulfillment, and each story presents not only a unique view into the character's world, but a very human portrait of the people inhabiting the pages.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on August 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
Growing up in Chongquing, China, Xujun Eberlein came to America in the summer of 1988 to advance her education. Receiving a PhD from MIT in 1995, after graduation she became a computer algorithm developer until 2003 when she embarked upon a new career as a writer, for which she has since been awarded a number of literary honors for her stories and personal essays published in the United States, Canada, England, Kenya and Hong Kong. Xujun Eberlein currently hosts the literary and cultural blog 'Inside-out China'. Now eight of her stories have been collected and published by the Livingston Press as "Apologies Forthcoming". These erudite and compelling stories focus on the experiences of people during China's 'Cultural Revolution' which saw the intellectual class of a generation of Chinese under Mao subjected to humiliation and repression. Included in this outstanding anthology of realistic fiction are Snow Line; Pivot Point; Feathers; Men Don't apologize; Watch the Thrill; disciple of the Masses; The Randomness of Love; and Second Encounter. Documenting Xujun Eberlein as an exceptional talented author, "Apologies Forthcoming" is especially recommended to readers with an interest in superbly presented and engaging fiction deftly showcasing the human condition with a particular flair for realism in both character and dialogue.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By James P. Thompson on July 18, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am charmed by Apologies Forthcoming but haven't been able to put my finger on precisely why. Xujun Eberlein writes with quiet intimacy. The stories are like listening to a really interesting person at a social gathering... someone uninhibited, unafraid to admit earthy things to a stranger.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on June 13, 2008
Format: Paperback
Through a collection of stories, Xujun Eberlein weaves poignant tales with the common thread being China's Cultural Revolution. Eberlein's stories reveal the impact of the revolution on the individual and how it shaped the decisions and actions both during and well after the revolution. Through the intimacy of her writing, it is apparent that Eberlein has a powerful understanding of the revolution, the people who experienced it, and their stories. It is with this knowledge that she shapes often unforgettable tales that reveal the personal turmoil, familial conflict, and societal indifference of a nation of people caught in the revolution and its aftermath.

The tones of the stories range from intense passion to distant indifference. This disparity seems to work well with the characters as it clearly shows the impact of the atrocities that occurred during the revolution. The passion is evident in Shanzi, a young city insert sent into the country, in "Disciple of the Masses." Cloaked in the naive passion of the cause, she seems often unaware of the direness of her situation.

Indifference proves shocking in "Watch the Thrill," as Eberlein tells the story of two young boys in the midst of national turmoil. Within the limitations of the Cultural Revolution, the boys find themselves bored and looking for excitement. A horrific event occurs before their eyes. What is shocking is not so much the event itself (as it appears to be a common occurrence during the revolution), but the shear indifference of one of the boys to the pain of a young man from their neighborhood who is headed for his death.

Eberlein reveals the challenges of relationships during era of the Cultural Revolution in the connecting tales, "Pivot Point" and "The Randomness of Love.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Clifford Garstang on June 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
This collection of short stories set against a backdrop of China's Cultural Revolution is remarkable primarily for its unstinting authenticity. The reader will understand from depictions of the places and events and from the rendering of the characters and their conflicted loyalties that this is a writer who knows what she's talking about. Whether most Americans will be able to connect to the tales is another question, but for a reader who is at all familiar with or interested in modern China, the book is deeply rewarding.

The stories in the book (my favorite is "Disciple of the Masses") reveal important features of life in China during a time of great upheaval that shattered many families. But even in turbulence, young people came of age, developed attachments, and learned that what they were taught was not always right. For the reader unfamiliar with China, these tales will still resonate because the narratives ring true.

While the setting and details are credible and precise, the language of the stories is occasionally, to my ear, somewhat awkward. Paradoxically, however, this awkwardness only adds to the writer's authority, because the rhythm and vocabulary serve to underscore the collection's Chineseness. And it is that Chineseness--the transport to a time and place that is so unfamiliar to most readers--that makes Apologies Forthcoming a special book.
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