Eileen Chang: Romancing Languages, Cultures and Genres edited by Kam Louie HKU Press In 2007, Chinese writer Eileen Chang was thrust into the Western consciousness by Ang Lee's film adaptation of her short story Lust, Caution. The raunchy tale of spies, sex, love and betrayal in Japanese-occupied Shanghai was a worldwide hit. And Chang - who first published the story in the 1970s - became a household name. Despite this, Chang (who died in Los Angeles in 1995) remains somewhat of a mystery abroad. This stands in sharp contrast to her revered position in Taiwan and post-Mao China, where she is viewed as one of the leading 20th-century writers. While hundreds of works explore Chang's writings and influence in Chinese, few critical discourses exist in English. This collection of English-language essays is set to fill that gap. Some of Chang's most influential years were spent as a student of literature at the University of Hong Kong before she was forced to return to occupied Shanghai following the 1941 Japanese attack on the island. Born Zhang Ailing to an aristocratic Shanghai family in 1920, she had a troubled childhood. Her abusive, opium-addict father beat her while her mother was a pleasure-seeking bohemian. From one of the fascinating insights in the collection we learn how this infiltrated her writing: in an early essay Whispers (1944) Chang describes her private pain in a disruptive household as the war rages around her. The focus on the personal was an important principle for Chang. It separated her from her fellow Chinese writers whose sweeping tales of great social upheavals often sacrificed nuance for politics. Chang is notable for her depictions of a decaying urban Chinese elite in Shanghai and Hong Kong. 'All I really write about are some of the trivial things that happen between men and women. There is no war and no revolution in my works,' she claimed. While Lust, Caution is today her most famous work in the West, it was her debut short story Love in a Fallen City (set during the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong) that made her a celebrity writer in the '40s. Romancing Languages sets interpretations of Chang's works in a historical and literary context. Highlights include Gina Marchetti's 'Eileen Chang and Ang Lee at the Movies: The Cinematic Politics of Lust, Caution' and Nicole Huang's 'Eileen Chang and Things Japanese'. In 'Betrayal, Impersonation, and Bilingualism: Eileen Chang's Self-Translation' Penn State University professor Shen Shuang suggests that residue left over from the Cultural Revolution (with stories of betrayal continuing to emerge today) accounts for the growing fascination with Chang's works on the mainland. Chang's short, troubled marriage to intellectual and Japanese collaborator Hu Lancheng led to a guilt by association that haunted her memory and reputation. (a 1995 academic conference on her works in Shanghai was cancelled by the authorities). Shen explores Chang's complex identity as a possible 'culture traitor'; after 1949 she was unwelcome in communist China and emigrated to the US in 1955. This is an academic book and the lay reader may find the essays daunting. But whether as a collection to read in its own right - or one that will spur further interest in Chang in English - it is a significant book that provides ample scope for further discussion.