Can Xue, meaning ‘dirty snow, leftover snow,’ is the pseudonym of Deng Xiaohua. Born in 1953, in Changsha City, Hunan province, her parents were sent to the countryside during the Cultural Revolution, and she only graduated from elementary school. Can Xue learned English on her own and wrote books on Kafka, Shakespeare, and Dante. Her publications in English include Vertical Motion (from which the above is excerpted, courtesy of Open Letter), Blue Light in the Sky and Other Stories (New Directions) and Five Street Spice (Yale). This summer, Yale University Press will publish her novel The Last Lover.
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