top of page

HIMMELSKÄFIG: Including the story of "The Pigtail"


The book presented to the reader brings together 12 short stories and short stories by Chinese-speaking authors living in Europe who are in various countries, including Austria, Germany, Belgium, France , Sweden, Switzerland and Hungary. The thematic content is rich and touches on the one hand on problem areas such as the clash of cultures, refugees and integration and on the other hand on the painful aftermath of the Second World War. There are also stories from far away and mystical China. The fact that short stories and short stories by Chinese-speaking authors in Europe are entering the stage of the German-speaking market together in the form of an anthology represents a groundbreaking innovation. Chinese people living in Europe have two cultural identities, they tell stories from a multicultural perspective, and represent different cultural spaces towards each other. This is certainly extremely interesting for the German-speaking reader and offers them a different form of reading experience.


“The Pigtail” by Xie Lingjie from Belgium is a purely Chinese story, but carries deep-seated universal feelings. The work uses personal memories from the countryside from the author's youth as a blueprint to tell the tragic story of a shepherd boy who lost his father and his mother, against the background of the neglect and desolation in the Chinese villages of the seventies and eighties. The story is told from the perspective of a marginalized, mentally disabled child. The reader is reminded of Benjamin from Nobel Prize winner William Faulkner's “Sound and Madness,” as well as the humiliated and despised black child from Mo Yan's “The Crystal Radish.” The lack of love, the evil of human nature, is unmistakably shown in scene after scene. Two straw braids wrapped around the boy's neck carry his mother's love and memories, but at the same time they are whips with which the boy protects himself and which he swings against a group of indifferent accomplices and onlookers. Ultimately, the boy takes his own life in extreme pain, hunger and deep loneliness - it is outdated traditional concepts, his grandmother's compassionlessness and the cold indifference of the villagers that drive him to misfortune. The work reflects on the extreme end, the end of a life, the real problems and the cultural structures of Chinese society at the time. It criticizes the inherent weaknesses of the population and calls for people to love and be loved. It calls for a new character of the population, emits the silent cry “save the children” and shows enlightenment ideas.

bottom of page