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Belinda Huijuan Tang Books In Order

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A Map for the Missing (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Belinda Huijuan Tang is an American literary fiction author that is best known for her debut novel “A Map for the Missing.”

The author is a graduate of the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop which she graduated from in 2021. She was one of the best students at the Workshop and got the Michener-Corpenicus Fellowship and was also a Truman Capote Fellow.
Belinda also went to Stanford University where she graduated with a bachelor of arts degree. She was also a Middlebury Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference work-study fellow.

Between 2016 and 2018, she lived in China and attended the Beijing-based Peking University, where she got her master’s degree.

Tang published “A Map for the Missing,” her debut novel in 2022, and the work would go on to become a bestselling novel. She has said that she wrote the novels in an attempt to fill a yawning gap in her family history.
While the work cannot be strictly considered autofiction, it does come with a few autobiographical elements. Belinda currently makes her home in Los Angeles.

While Belinda Huijuan Tang is of Chinese heritage, her parents had lived in the United States for decades before she was born. However, the family often went to spend their summer vacations in China.

From the stories her father told, she came to learn that China had changed a lot over the years. It was fascinating to her how the country changed very fast.

When her parents left the country a quarter of the people lived in urban centers but by the time she was visiting the majority of the population did.

Whenever they went a few years without visiting, the nearest large city to her family’s hometown would almost become unrecognizable.

Belinda was also fascinated by the life of the village that she lived in during this time.

The village had been the center of her father’s life but now was nearly empty as most of the people now lived in the cities where there were better opportunities.

The only people still living in the villages were small children and the elderly. As such, the world she was trying to capture in her novel no longer existed.

When her parents moved to the US at the end of the millennium in 1998, they saw the US as a place with new technology, skyscrapers, and even better the richest country in the world.

In the present, China is a lot of those things and this is what she wanted to explore.

Belinda Huijuan Tang’s novel is partly inspired by her own family history. When her father was sixteen and still living in China his father disappeared from the village.

Tang’s father had spent much of the summer riding trains in their home province searching for the man who would never be found.

Belinda heard the story when she was very young and it stuck with her for a very long time. It was very poignant that her family never had any closure over the disappearance of the family patriarch.

From the first time she got into fiction, she knew that she needed to pen a story inspired by that incident.

Huijuan Tang began with an image as she started painting a picture of how the family felt the first time they received news that their father had gone missing.

From a fictional perspective, she started thinking of what factors could have made the news even more shocking for the family.

From there, she came up with the idea of a character. It was a character that had been estranged from and had not seen his father for years. She believed that she would make a good story that she could explore.

Some elements she was interested in exploring included the conflicted thoughts that her lead might have over his estranged father.

As for the research needed, she had to take a very unconventional path since hardly anyone in her family had a similar experience.

Belinda Huijuan Tang got started by reading memoirs that had been penned by people who lived during her grandfather’s time. Fortunately, this was a very common experience for people that lived during that era and she could find a lot of information.
Some of the best sources that she found were blogs by people who had a similar experience to what she wanted to write about. Most of these were people close to retirement age and had the time to pen tales about the days of their youth.

As for the Mathematics in the novel, none of it is very advanced. Belinda made use of her background in mathematics that she got studying as an undergraduate to expand on the concepts she already was familiar with.

“A Map for the Missing” by Belinda Hujiang Tang is the story of Tang Yitian.

For the past 10 years, he has been living in the United States. At the opening of the novel he just got a call from his mother informing him that his father has gone missing from their remote village in China.

Even though he has not seen him for many years, he promises to go back home. Trying to piece together the mystery of the disappearance he also has to deal with an unwieldy Chisenes bureaucracy as an outsider.

The mystery of the disappearing incident is only magnified by how elusive his mother seems to be. Titian contacts a childhood friend named Tian Hanwen whom he believes could help him.

She had been the only person who had a thirst for knowledge just like him while they were growing up. In her teenage years, she had been sent down to Yitian’s village from Shanghai as part of the rustication campaign by the government.
In love and still very youthful they had dreams of going to university in the big city together. However, their plans ended in tragedy and their paths diverged.

Hanwen was left behind to get married to a midlevel bureaucrat and Yitian soared to become a professor in the United States.

When they finally reunite it makes for a heartfelt story that showcases the meaning of home, forgiveness, and family.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Belinda Huijuan Tang

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