Orville Schell on his novel, My Old Home: A Novel of Exile


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Veteran China scholar Orville Schell has written a dozen books on China, but his latest book — which Schell published at the age of 80 — is his first novel. My Old Home: A Novel of Exile is a bildungsroman that follows the life of Li Wende and his father, Li Shutong, from the early days of the Cultural Revolution to the tragedy of Tiananmen in 1989. This week on Sinica, Kaiser chats with Orville about the windows on China that nonfiction is unable to open but that fiction can; the challenges of writing a novel after a lifetime of publishing nonfiction; and continuity and change in modern Chinese history.


Orville: The works of the famous writer and essayist Lu Xun, 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows, by Ai Weiwei (set for release in November 2021), and Blood Letters: The Untold Story of Lin Zhao, a Martyr in Mao’s China, by Lian Xi.

Kaiser: Interior Chinatown: A Novel, by Charles Yu.