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In Prospect in April, Julia Lovell wrote about the new wave of Chinese fiction, much of which uses wry humour or playful surrealism to illuminate the contradictions and strangeness of modern China. Lovell, a professor of Chinese, singled out the work of Xiang Zuotie, praising his story “Raising Whales” for its “absurdist take on China’s get-rich-quick fever, as a landlocked village slowly runs out of containers to house its growing whale farm.”

Xiang Zuotie was born in 1974 in the southeastern province of Hunan. He has published one short story collection,…

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