Love in a Fallen City is a collection of stories by Eileen Chang. The collection is considered to be a classic. The stories are all love stories that occur during the fall of Hong Kong and right after WWII. Other than being beautifully written stories about love set during wartime, that is all that the stories have in common.
The collection includes the following sections:
- “Aloeswood Incense: The First Brazier,”
- “Jasmine Tea”
- “Love in a Fallen City”
- “The Golden Cangue”
- “Sealed Off”
- “Red Rose, White Rose”
My favorite section was “Love in a Fallen City.” It seems kind of romantic but also realistic.
Bai Liusu and her sister, Bai Baolu, travel with the matchmaker Mrs. Xu to meet Fan Liuyuan, an eligible bachelor. Liusu was divorced from her recently departed ex-husband.In order to leave her family home, she needs to arrange a marriage. The idea of getting the matchmaker involved was as much her idea as her family’s. They want her out of the house too.
The matchmaker originally wanted Fan Liuyuan to take an interest in the sister, Bai Baolu. However, Bai Liusu shows an interest in Fan Liuyan. While he stayed in Hong Kong, she returned to Shanghai briefly. Eventually, she follows him in order to pursue marriage.
At some point in their relationship, the city of Hong Kong falls. They go through a lot of things together but are not married. Will they survive? Will they ever get married? What happened to the younger sister? I don’t remember because I was so invested in Bai Liusu and Fan Liuyan.
If you are interested in reading a classic work of literature by a person of color, then Love in a Fallen City is a great choice.
If you are not a fan of beautiful words, then you aren’t ready for this book yet.
About the Author
Eileen Chang was born in Shangai in 1920. In 1955, she moved to the United States to pursue a writing career. Although, she didn’t have the same success in America as in China, Chang never stopped writing. Later in her life, people rediscovered her writing. Some of her works were made into film and stage productions.