My Old Faithful, with Yang Huang

March 30th, 2018 · 48 mins 50 secs

About this Episode

My guest is Yang Huang. Her debut novel Living Treasures won the Nautilus Book Award silver medal in fiction. Her newest book is My Old Faithful. Evoking both the drama of familial intimacy and the ups and downs of the everyday, My Old Faithful introduces readers to a close-knit Chinese family. These ten interconnected short stories, which take place in China and the United States over a thirty-year period, merge to paint a nuanced portrait of family life, full of pain, surprises, and subtle acts of courage. Richly textured narratives from the mother, the father, the son, and the daughters play out against the backdrop of China's social and economic change.

With quiet humor and sharp insight into the ordinary, Yang Huang writes of a father who spanks his son out of love, a brother who betrays his sister, and a young woman who dares bring a brown man home to her conservative parents. She writes of an aging wife and the kindness she shows a young prostitute caught soliciting her husband; of a woman returning to China after many years to find her country changed in ways both expected and startling. This collection, by a writer who grew up in Jiangsu province and participated in the 1989 student uprisings, is remarkable in its sense of place and fidelity to lived human experience.

Yang Huang grew up in China and came to the U.S. to study computer science. While working as an engineer, she attended Boston College and earned an MFA from the University of Arizona. Her collection of linked family stories, My Old Faithful, won the Juniper Prize for Fiction. Her debut novel Living Treasures won the Nautilus Book Award silver medal in fiction. Her essays, stories, and screenplay have appeared in Poets & Writers, Literary Hub, The Margins, Eleven Eleven, Asian Pacific American Journal, The Evansville Review, Stories for Film, and others. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and works for the University of California at Berkeley. To learn more about Yang and her writing, visit www.yanghuang.com or follow her on Twitter: @yangwrites.