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The Hanging on Union Square


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About the Author

H. T. Tsiang (1899-1971) was born in China and emigrated to the United States at the age of twenty-seven. While living in New York he wrote poetry and op-eds, acted in local theatre productions and self-published three novels. In 1943 he staged a theatrical adaptation of his novel, The Hanging on Union Square, that counted Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles and Gregory Peck among its audience members. He died in Los Angeles.


"A surreal overnight journey . . . Thirty-year-old bestseller The Joy Luck Club perennially provides irrefutable proof Asian American stories warrant shelf space. That Penguin Classics--their venerable list considered a significant barometer of what comprises the Anglophone literary canon--has added this . . . is, undoubtedly, long-awaited, long-deserved recognition." --The Christian Science Monitor

"I finished H. T. Tsiang's masterpiece a few hours ago and I'm still not sure where I am and what day this is. My mind has been picked apart and reassembled. I need a drink." --Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story "[Tsiang] was radiant, boisterous, unforgettable." --The New Yorker "A portrait of a New York City for the rich and the poor, the immigrant and the native-born, the newly homeless and the seasoned itinerant . . . Tsiang . . . tried to tell America what it really looked like. . . . [Unlike his] social-realist contemporaries--the Steinbecks and the dos Passoses-- . . . Tsiang had little interest in steely, self-serious misery. In the book, as in his life, he is constantly cheeky and self-deprecating. . . . Tsiang's manic spirit animates his voice. . . . Though the book's formal aspects range from jarring to quaint to delightful, they all reflect the infectious freedom with which Tsiang wrote. His flinging disregard for the fashionable and the novelistic are thrilling, but so are the serious, deep convictions underlying them. For anyone with revolutionary sympathies, it's an emotionally stirring book." --The Nation "This is a voice to which the white world . . . will have to listen more and more as time passes." --Upton Sinclair "[The Hanging on Union Square] felt like slipping into another person's hallucination." --Hua Hsu, from the Introduction "[A] masterwork." --Floyd Cheung, from the Afterword "Tsiang's writings are quintessentially of the intermingled (and dangerous) public street culture of downtown Manhattan creative life. He carried the mantle, unknowingly, of Wong Chin Foo--who five decades earlier challenged Denis Kearney to a duel with Irish potatoes at Cooper Union's Great Hall. And we, the Mr. Nut faction of the Asian American movement, carry on Tsiang's spirit!" --John Kuo Wei Tchen, author of New York Before Chinatown: Orientalism and the Shaping of American Culture, 1776-1882 "An artist of distinction, H. T. Tsiang created a genre unto itself in 1935 with The Hanging on Union Square. Its republication after seventy-five years rescues--from an outlaw existence--a strangely and beautifully evocative satiric allegory." --Alan Wald, author of American Night: The Literary Left in the Era of the Cold War "[The Hanging on Union Square] is original in form without being labored; and it's remarkable for its whimsical insights into various strata of society and for its flashing counterpoint of almost savage sensuality and delicate pity. Throughout, it is alive and evocative. Mr. Tsiang's fanciful and often fantastic visions . . . convey more truth than a shelf of reportorial novels." --Waldo Frank

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