I have to admit that I'm not quite sure why this anthology has such low average ratings here and on Amazon. While this is a somewhat uneven collection and has its share of duds, there is much here to admire and enjoy. Embracing a wide variety of themes, from ghost stories to love stories, absurdist fantasies to old-fashioned tales of hard scrabble village life, this volume showcases both writers well known in the West and those who've rarely or never been translated before. My favourite stories included Chen Ran's poignant, beautifully structured "Sunshine Between the Lips", Chen Cun's atmospheric, disquieting "Footsteps on the Roof", Bi Feiyu's wry "Ancestor", Wang Meng's comical and slightly absurd "A String of Choices" and Yu Hua's brilliant "The Past and the Punishments". Also well worth reading: "The Brothers Shu" (Su Tong), "First Person" (Shi Tiensheng),"Grass on the Rooftop" (Li Xiao) "The Sleeping Lion" (Kong Jiesheng) and "Fritter Hollow Chronicles" (Wang Xiangfu).