Running Through Beijing by Xu Zechen, translated from the Chinese by Eric Abrahamsen (Two Lines Press)
Eric Abrahamsen beautifully renders Duanhuang’s chaotic marathon through Beijing’s unglamorous quarters. This refreshing social critique features a wide array of colorful hustlers dealing in pirated DVDs, fake IDs, and prostitution. Through Duanhuang, we follow the characters’ struggles to rise above their economic conditions as they develop a sense of loyalty and community within a deeply corrupt society. The narrator’s colloquial voice and author’s compassionate portraits emerge with grace through Eric Abrahamsen translation.