Xu Xu

Xu Xu 徐訏 (1908-1980) was an influential Chinese writer who enjoyed tremendous popularity throughout the late 1930s and 1940s. After graduating from Peking University in 1931 he moved to Shanghai in 1933 to begin his literary career. He left for Paris to continue his studies in 1936 and returned to China during the war against Japan. He moved to Hong Kong in 1950, where in his later fiction he mostly explored the theme of nostalgia experienced by countless Chinese displaced during the civil war. Xu Xu's works were banned on the mainland from 1949 until the 1980s, but his work is now widely read in China and is a frequent source material for television and the stage. In Hong Kong Xu Xu edited several literary journals and taught Chinese literature at different colleges and universities, eventually chairing the Chinese Department at Hong Kong Baptist University until his death in 1980.


  • “Green’s engaging translation of stories by novelist Xu Xu allows readers of English to understand—finally—why he is so popular and important in China and Hong Kong. The collection includes a wide, wonderful range of topics, times, geographies, and styles. These are stories that illuminate and captivate."

    —Howard Goldblatt, 2012 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature
  • "Xu Xu’s fiction opens a window onto Shanghai’s roaring 1930s, China’s War of Resistance against Japan, and the post-war experience of Chinese exiles in Hong Kong. Highly recommended."
    —Jianye He, Librarian for Chinese Collections, University of California, Berkeley
  • "One of the most widely read Chinese authors of the mid-20th century finally available in English translation. A delight for scholars and general readers."
    —Chris Wen-chao Li, D.Phil., Oxford University. Professor of Chinese Linguistics, San Francisco State University