Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast: Q & A with Translator of “Last Quarter of the Moon”

Angus Stewart recently interviewed me about translating Chi Zijian's novel that chronicles the tragic twilight of the reindeer-herding, Tungusic-speaking Evenki of northeastern China. The tale has since been translated into several languages, including French, Japanese and Swedish. You can find the podcast here: Episode 42 of the Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast https://trchfic.podbean.com/e/ep-42-chi-zijian-and-last-quarter-of-the-moon-with-bruce-humes/ 如果你正在中国,这链接可能更合适: Episode 42 … Continue reading Translated Chinese Fiction Podcast: Q & A with Translator of “Last Quarter of the Moon”

April 2016: Altaic Storytelling Newsbriefs

As of May 1, 2016, the controversial, so-called Biànmín Liánxì Kǎ (便民联系卡) will cease to be in use in Xinjiang, according to the authorities (不再使用).  The card (pictured here), which lists contact info for the card-holder's hometown authorities, was supposedly intended to facilitate a variety of services when the Xinjiang resident was away from his or … Continue reading April 2016: Altaic Storytelling Newsbriefs

Reclaiming the Evenki Narrative: Last Shaman’s Daughter Tells her People’s 20th-century Tale

There are only 30,000 or so Evenki (鄂温克族) on the Chinese side of the Sino-Russian border. But this Tungusic-speaking, reindeer-herding people — particularly the group known as the Aoluguya Evenki — has been the subject of several award-winning documentaries and even a novel that won the Mao Dun Literature Prize in 2008. According to an … Continue reading Reclaiming the Evenki Narrative: Last Shaman’s Daughter Tells her People’s 20th-century Tale

Quick Guide to China’s Contemporary Ethnic-themed Literature in Translation

Updated: May 3, 2018 (No plans to further update) Quick Guide to China’s Contemporary  Ethnic-themed Literature in Translation I’m often too busy to immediately write a well-researched post about contemporary “ethnic-themed” fiction that has been translated and published in a foreign tongue. This is a loose category (民族题材文学) that includes stories — regardless of the … Continue reading Quick Guide to China’s Contemporary Ethnic-themed Literature in Translation

“Last Quarter of the Moon”: Readers Speak Out

An admittedly quirky collection — selected by me — of unedited online reviews of my translation of Chi Zijian's 额尔古纳河右岸 (Last Quarter of the Moon). Not to worry. They aren't all glowing recommendations. . . * * * Beautifully written, but depressing as fuck. (full text) * * * It is an atmospheric modern folk-tale, … Continue reading “Last Quarter of the Moon”: Readers Speak Out

Excerpt of the Week: The Nightjar at Dusk (黄昏夜莺)

So now the escapee nightjar and I were conspirators. I had to stay patient and play my part in its plot. We stood a while longer, though of course the urgent call did not sound. But the boy stood there motionless, gazing up at the spot where the bird had once perched. He already had … Continue reading Excerpt of the Week: The Nightjar at Dusk (黄昏夜莺)

“Last Quarter of the Moon”: Evenki Odyssey Captured in Chinese Novel Set in the Greater Khingan Mountains

My translation of Chi Zijian’s Last Quarter of the Moon (额尔古纳河右岸) can be ordered — e-book, hard cover and paperback — online at various places, including Amazon. Read the opening for free here (click on the cover), or the author’s Afterword. For information on other editions, see: Dutch (Het laatste kwartier van de maan), French,  Italian … Continue reading “Last Quarter of the Moon”: Evenki Odyssey Captured in Chinese Novel Set in the Greater Khingan Mountains

Profile of Octogenarian Orochen: Folk Song Singer, Folk Tale and Dictionary Compiler

Among one of the first batches of young Orochen (鄂伦春) chosen to receive a formal Chinese-language education in Zhalantun in 1948, E’erdenggua (额尔登挂) was just 17 at the time. She had never been outside her village on the banks of Chuo’er River (绰尔河畔) in Inner Mongolia, and didn’t speak a word of Chinese. Now 84, … Continue reading Profile of Octogenarian Orochen: Folk Song Singer, Folk Tale and Dictionary Compiler

“Last Quarter of the Moon”: Evenki Place Names behind the Hànzì

I grew up in places with names like “Winnetka” and “Sewickley,” spellings no doubt based on mangled transliterations of old, even ancient Native American words. I vaguely recall that Sewickley meant “sweet water,” but no one seemed sure. How many cities, mountains and rivers in China, I wondered, hide their non-Han origins? Evenki Mountain Name … Continue reading “Last Quarter of the Moon”: Evenki Place Names behind the Hànzì

Tungusic Languages Under Threat: Statistics, Research Projects, Strategies for Protection

Following a conference on the dire straits of Tungusic languages in China — virtually all of which are under threat — four very informative articles have just appeared on the Institute of Ethnic Literature site.  Since they are in Chinese, I hope to summarize the best parts later, but for now, I site some basic … Continue reading Tungusic Languages Under Threat: Statistics, Research Projects, Strategies for Protection