Land of Big Numbers
A “stirring and brilliant” debut story collection, offering vivid portrayals of the men and women of modern China and its diaspora, “both love letter and sharp social criticism,” from a phenomenal new literary talent bringing great “insight from her years as a reporter with the Wall Street Journal” (Elle). Debut fiction author, Te-Ping Chen will appear live on Crowdcast to discuss her new collection, Land of Big Numbers. Join the event at: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/wbf-land-of-big-numbers. Before the event begins, you will see a countdown and the event image.
Gripping and compassionate, Land of Big Numbers traces the journeys of the diverse and legion Chinese people, their history, their government, and how all of that has tumbled—messily, violently, but still beautifully—into the present. Cutting between clear-eyed realism and tongue-in-cheek magical realism, Chen’s stories coalesce into a portrait of a people striving for openings where mobility is limited. Twins take radically different paths: one becomes a professional gamer, the other a political activist. A woman moves to the city to work at a government call center and is followed by her violent ex-boyfriend. A man is swept into the high-risk, high-reward temptations of China’s volatile stock exchange. And a group of people sit, trapped for no reason, on a subway platform for months, waiting for official permission to leave. With acute social insight, Te-Ping Chen layers years of experience reporting on the ground in China with incantatory prose in this taut, surprising debut, proving herself both a remarkable cultural critic and an astonishingly accomplished new literary voice.
This series, featuring authors and books focusing on cultural expressions related to China, Japan, and Korea, is made possible through our partnership with the Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As part of the partnership, free copies of Land of Big Numbers will be distributed for free to live event attendees who sign up. During the event, there will be a link at the bottom of the screen, fill out the form, and a book will be sent to you.
Te-Ping Chen is a fiction writer & journalist whose debut collection of short stories is Land of Big Numbers. Her fiction has been published in The New Yorker, Granta and Tin House. She is a Wall Street Journal correspondent in Philadelphia who was previously based in Beijing and Hong Kong. She has reported on rice cookers and wrongful convictions, gotten hung up on by Edward Snowden and eaten more robot-cooked noodles than she can count.