Pathlight is a magazine of Chinese fiction and poetry in English translation.
For China, "more, better, bigger, faster" has been the only doctrine
of development for the last thirty-five years. Resources disappear and
outward identities - countrysides, communities, relationships - are
forcibly repackaged in modern materials in the interest of progress.
Then, one high-speed train knocks another off the track, and the
government rescue teams bury the evidence. What does a national love
for speed do to the people who make the nation? Do people live better
in concrete boxes than they did in wooden ones? Trains, cars, and
apartments now haunt the Chinese imagination. Wang Anyi and Sheng Tie
present us with life on the rails: one dream and one nightmare. Lu
Nei's Shuangfeng is forever running after something that's out of his
grasp; Ren Xiaowen's mermaid is fleeing for her life. A Yi's
Zhou Lingtong starts out on the lam but comes full circle, while Li
Hao's narrator seems to be fully at rest.