- About the Author & Translator
Winner of the 2015 Lennox Robinson Literary Award
A reclusive young boy stumbles upon his father's diary. Filled with drawings, photos and anecdotes, the diary reveals an alpine world that his father once inhabited as a child: where tribes were fashioned by tree spirits; animals could be spoken to; fleas danced; and the moon and stars were guiding lights in darkling forests. His father's world was alive with birdsong and hidden spirits, serene yet fleeting-but it all changed when he befriended two bears. Bewitching and timeless, award-winning Taiwanese author Chang Ying-Tai's The Bear Whispers to Me is a poignant forest fable about the vivid beauty of the natural world, childhood, loss and the transient nature of time.
"Translated from its original Chinese by Darryl Sterk, this charming story of a boy discovering his father's childhood is a thoughtful, unique read. The boy finds his father's scrapbook and album and relieves himself of his own boredom and loneliness by losing himself in the stories they contain. In reading he is able to retrace his younger father's steps and in learning of his father's colourful childhood in the forest, his friendship with a bear cub and a girl named Lotus the boy is reacquainted with his father in a way that hadn't seemed possible before.
A short, quiet novel that blurs the lines of fantasy and reality in a dream like fable, The Bear Whispers to Me feels traditional and timeless. Young readers looking for a new challenge will enjoy the otherworldly quality to the writing, and the quiet contemplative tone of the descriptions of the natural world."
"A rare example of Taiwanese fiction available in English, is an emotive story of one of the now culturally-endangered aboriginal peoples of the island. It evokes a world of shamans, tree-spirits, bears, forests and whispers."
—Asian Review of Books
"Fascinating in its folkloric sense of tribal ways, deeply spiritual in its philosophies and alert to ancient wisdom, this is a poignant and compelling story of lives approaching fullest bloom, a coming-of-age parable that contemplates love, loss, desire, familial bonds and man's place in and relationship with the natural world."
Chang Ying-Tai is an award-winning Taiwanese novelist and short story writer. She earned her PhD in Literature from National Taiwan University, and holds the position of Distinguished Professor at the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taipei.
Over the past decade, she has been the recipient of numerous major awards, including the China Times First Prize for Fiction and Prose; the United Daily Press First Prize for Fiction; the Central Daily News First Prize for Fiction; the Award for Literary Writing from the Taiwanese Ministry of Education; and the Lennox Robinson Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Arts. She has also been a finalist for the Two-Million-Yuan Award for Fiction, one of the largest monetary prizes in Asian literature.
Darryl Sterk has translated numerous short stories by Taiwanese writers for The Taipei Chinese Pen, Asymptote and Pathlight. His novel translation include The Man With the Compound Eyes and The Stolen Bicycle by Wu Ming-Yi, The Bear Whispers to Me (A Bear and a Boy) by Chang Ying-Tai, The Tree Fort on Carnation Lane by Horace Ho, and Wedding in Autumn and Other Stories by Shih Chiung-Yu. He is a Professor of Translation at Lingnan University, Hong Kong. As a scholar he works on the representation of Taiwan’s indigenous peoples in film and fiction. He speaks Tgdaya Seediq (an indigenous language in Taiwan) with a certificate of intermediate level.
Cover Type: Paperback
Page Count: 184
Year Published: 2015
Size: 203mm x 133mm