Mu Xin

Mu Xin

Mu Xin (1927- ) is the pen name of a renowned Chinese diasporan writer and artist currently living in the New York area. Mu Xin was born in Wuzhen, South China, into a wealthy aristocratic family with business interests in Shanghai. He was among the last generation to receive a classical education in the literati tradition, but he was also exposed through voluminous reading to the highest achievements of Western art and culture.

From 1947 to 1949, MuXin attended Shanghai Institute of the Arts. From 1949 until 1982, when he came to the United States, MuXin lived in China. Although he wrote profusely in that period, all of his earlier manuscripts were confiscated and destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. Since 1982, MuXin has published twelve books of fiction, prose, and poetry (in Chinese) and has been contributing to literary columns in Chinese journals and newspapers outside the PRC. Among the Chinese diaspora, MuXin’s works have attracted an intense following.

Few Chinese writers in modern history have as firm a mastery of the Chinese cultural and linguistic heritage as MuXin does. Innovatively combining fiction, sanwen (a Chinese genre which blends characteristics of the essay, fiction, and poetry), and philosophical reflections, MuXin’s writing is both profoundly Chinese and reminiscent of the internalization and unconventionality of Western modern masters. In addition to his literary accomplishments, MuXin is also a well recognized artist whose paintings are preserved, among other places, at Yale University and Harvard University Art Galleries.

(Bio Credit: Words Without Borders)

An Empty Room

by Mu Xin

Translated from the Chinese by Toming Jun Liu

An Empty Room is the first book by the celebrated Chinese writer Mu Xin to appear in English. A cycle of thirteen tenderly evocative stories written while Mu Xin was living in exile, this collection is reminiscent of the structural beauty of Hemingways’ In Our Time and the imagistic power of Kawabata’s palm-of-the-hand stories. From the ordinary (a bus accident) to the unusual (Buddhist halos) to the wise (Goethe, Lao Zi), Mu Xin’s wandering “I” interweaves plots with philosophical grace and spiritual profundity.…
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Mu Xin is best known as a writer and not a painter. He sustains the Chinese mode of returning to the art of the past and refreshing it for the present. He came to the United States in 1982, has written a dozen books here, and is a literary cult figure in Taiwan and among intellectuals in the Chinese diaspora.
—Holland Cotter, The New York Times
Mu Xin cultivates the whispering power of reverie.
New York Magazine
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