Li carves out a dark novel set in the red light district of the small Jiling township... What unfolds is a mélange of stories told from the perspective of various townspeople concerning the individuals, events, and aftermath of [a] single, fateful evening... Like works by Hong Ying, the narratives are brutally real and even sinister at times.
The novel explores the intersections of sexual desire, sadism, folk belief and karmic retribution.
The Jiling Chronicles...will demostrate to the English-reading world why he has been critically indentified as a premier writer of Chinese fiction in our time.
(Timothy C. Wong World Literature Today
The English publication of Li Yong-p'ing's intriguing and complex novel is certainly timely and most welcome.
(Lingchei Letty Chen MCLC List
Li Yung-p'ing is undoubtedly one of the most important writers in contemporary Chinese literature. His unique style of language and the complex narrative structure are two of his trademarks. Retribution exemplifies his modernist elegance and mastery of Chinese language. The basic plot of Jiling Chronicles is simple; the narrative structure that Li Yung-p'ing builds around the plot, however, complicates a rather simple incident into a mystery and a detective work. Because of its parallax perspective, reading the novel can be an intriguing experience. The novel's topic on desire and revenge explores fundamental human emotions and the consequences of actions. A timeless piece, this novel is a must read.
(Lingchei Letty Chen, Washington University in St. Louis)