Great Collection!

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Land of Big Numbers is a diverse collection of short stories depicting life in China, highlighting different singular life experiences in each story. Every one presents a different aspect of Chinese history, government, culture, and the human condition all together.

"Thank you for your cooperation, please line up, do not push
Be a civilized passenger, for your safety and that of those around you
We'll get there together."

One thing I must say, about reading this debut collection, is to read the stories and enjoy them for the story! Chen has constructed exactly that… great stories. Do not wait for that one defining moment (that most of us novel readers wait for) to enjoy the story, because that moment may not come to you until far after you have finished that story and moved on to the next. Don't wait for "something" to happen because it IS happening, right now, as you read them, the stories are happening. They start and end in such unique and unexpected ways, sometimes you are thrown into the story midday or mid-situation while others you are left the same way with a striking writing style that while leaving you hanging... you are, at the same time, satisfied and content. Enjoy these stories, in the moment, as they are unfolding for you. The stories are what they are, no frills, no fuss but everything you need to keep you engaged and leave you wondering about what's next and/or wanting more. It is a great collection, my favorite was Gubeikou Spirit by far (a solid example of the saying "Save the best for last," it was a good ending story.) It is a short read that lends to the voices of the Chinese people in a way I have not experienced as of yet, it has my curiosity senses tingling about this foreign (to me) land of big numbers and I will be picking up more books about their politics, culture, food culture and ways of life.

"...We'll get there together."

[Thank you BookishFirst, Te-Ping Chen, and HMH Books for the free ARC]