Opening Doors:
Countermemory in Wuhe’s Early Short Stories

By Christopher Neil Payne

Modern Chinese Literature and Culture, vol. 20, no. 1 (Spring 2008), pp. 173-217

This essay examines the contemporary Taiwanese author Wuhe, with particular focus on his early short stories, published between 1974 and 1994. The essay focuses on the deployment of history and memory by identifying how the works oscillate between modernism and nativism, between exterior and interior worlds, and how history and memory actantially perform as both subjects and objects. It is argued that Wuhe’s short stories open doors for alternative histories and countermemories to emerge. Moreover, it is argued that these alternative histories and countermemories become manifest textually, intertextually, and metanarratively (outside the text) and thus call into question mainstream (state-sanctioned/accepted) collective memories and expose their artificiality.