Friday, May 18, 2012

Chicago Lit: Wen Huang revisits his Chinese roots

Wenguang Huang’s The Little Red Guard unveils a story that is new and refreshing and adds a different perspective into the canon of immigrant literature. Caught between two worlds — the old and the new — the memoir sorts out an avalanche of complicated thoughts about family and accepting and appreciating one’s heritage.

While researching and writing the book, Huang began to unfold the complex layers of his relationship with his parents, which were made even more complex by the strictures of the Cultural Revolution. His father was a shy and private person who was demoted from a cultural bureau official to a warehouse manager. For a long time, Huang felt his father lived a wasted life. Huang didn’t have much of a relationship with his mother until he was older and living in Chicago.

Huang came to Illinois in 1990 and completed the Public Affairs Reporting Program at the University of Illinois Springfield, where last Saturday he delivered the commencement address. He has written commentary about China for the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor and Fortune magazine. He also translated The Corpse Walker: Real Life Stories, China From the Bottom Up by Chinese dissident Liao Yiwu, whom he calls “the Studs Terkel of China,” as well as Xianhui Yang’s Woman from Shanghai.

Huang was featured in anMay 17, 2012, article in the Chicago Sun-Times.

Read the article online