The Ventriloquist’s Daughter

This book first popped up on my radar after I read Bronze and Sunflower and was blown away by Helen Wang’s translation. I immediately went online to see what else she’d done, and The Ventriloquist’s Daughter came into my life.

Once again, Wang turns in a beautifully evocative translation that brings Lin’s story to life. Lin Man-Chiu is a well-known children’s author in Taiwan, and The Ventriloquist’s Daughter is the story of a young girl dealing with grief on multiple fronts. It’s also a somewhat surreal, mind-bending psychological twister that has more in common with The Twilight Zone than most modern YA books.

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Bronze and Sunflower

  • Bronze and Sunflower
  • written by Cao Wenxuan
  • translated by Helen Wang
  • published by Candlewick Press (2017)
  • Roar Score: 4/5

Bronze and Sunflower is 381 pages of pure poetry. The book is so beautifully written that every paragraph – nay, every sentence – dances off the page and is so powerfully evocative and lyrical that it’s hard to believe Helen Wang (for I give her the lion’s share of the credit here, in the new English translation from Candlewick Press) can keep it up for the entire book. But she does.

Author Cao Wenxuan is a professor of Chinese literature at Beijing’s Peking University and is considered to be one of China’s preeminent authors of children’s literature. Though he has written some 15 novels (and several other short stories and picture books), Bronze and Sunflower is his first to be translated and published in English.

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