Bai Xianyong has three identities: writer, elaborate red chamber and spread Kunqu Opera.But none of it is what he is best known for: Bai’s son.
Scholar Xu Zhiyuan once said of him: “In the past century, there are few writers like Bai Xianyong, whose personal fate is closely related to the changes of modern history.”
He was born in Nanning, Guangxi province, and moved to Guilin.At the beginning of the war, he followed his family to Nanjing and then to Shanghai.After 1949, he moved to Hong Kong and eventually To Taiwan.
He spent his adolescence in Taiwan and went to study in the United States at the age of 20.
When one is young, one experiences the most prominent family style; when one is young, one is uprooted from one’s hometown and struggles with difficulties; when one has experienced ups and downs, one will have a kind of tolerance and compassion for the world.
He wrote articles on the history he had experienced and witnessed, and fortunately had his pen to record the last images of the Republic of China in a book called “Taipei Man”.
Bai Xianyong once said that when he studied in the United States in his twenties, he could not sleep at night and often thought of home. “But what is my home?Taipei is the most familiar city to me. I grew up there. I studied there, but it doesn’t seem like home yet.
Is it guilin in your hometown?It doesn’t seem to be.And where is home?”
Then he said, “This home, it seems, is a thing that does not exist, a thing in the imagination.”
What he was thinking about was this home, cultural China.His signature reads: “Chinese traditional culture is my hometown.”
And the first work that he finds his hometown again, be “Taipei person”.
This book ranked seventh among Asia Weekly’s top 100 Chinese novels of the 20th century, after Qian Zhongshu’s Fortress Besieged and before Ba Jin’s Home, Zhang Yihe, Yang Zhenning, Yu Qiuyu and Lin Qingxia all cried over it.
One comment on Douban said: “There are only so many Taipei people left behind, but no Taipei people.”
The book contains 14 short stories, all about people who went to Taiwan with the Kuomintang.There were senior officers who had experienced the Revolution of 1911, the Northern Expedition, and the War of Resistance against Japan, ballroom dancers at Shanghai’s Parker-Gate, singers by the Qinhuai River, ordinary people who had small shops, and more of them were old soldiers who had been forced to go to Taiwan.