Winter 2023 - Dad Eighty-Eight

On his eighty-eighth birthday, I issued an extraordinary order to my father via an international phone call. I was agitated, and my tone was solemn. My father laughed before I finished. He did not hesitate to assure me he would accomplish it, as if the person on the other end of the phone were his former commandant. Like most extroverted men, my father is a big talker. He reports nothing but good news to his son. Even when he was lying on a hospital bed, he would insist he was “actually” not sick. His quick promise was not likely to reassure me. After praising his optimism, I reminded him in a more serious tone that no one would dare guarantee to accomplish such an impossible mission …




Xue Yiwei is a Chinese novelist and scholar living in Montreal. His books in English include Shenzheners (translated by Darryl Sterk), which won the 2017 Blue Metropolis/Montreal Arts Council Prize for Literary Diversity; Dr. Bethune’s Children (translated by Darryl Sterk), which is still banned in China; and Celia, Misoka, I (translated by Stephen Nashef). His latest novel “King Lear” and Nineteen Seventy-Nine has been hailed as a “Chinese Ulysses,” but has not been published in book form because of controversy over the backdrop of the Cultural Revolution.

 Miao Wei is a researcher and translator of Chinese diasporic literature. Her recent translation includes the short story “Travel with the Wild Wind” by Xue Yiwei. She works at the College of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Fudan University, Shanghai, China.

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