2013 China Times Open Book Award
2014 Taipei Book Fair Award
2014 Golden Tripod Award
While the short story form is held in high esteem in Taiwan, there are few published collections that have attracted the kind of attention Wang Ting-Kuo’s So Hot, So Cold has, with awards coming fast and steady over 2013 and 2014. Not only was this a result of Wang’s standing in literary circles, but also because of the stories themselves, hewn from the solemn weight of emotion contained within them, yet forged with the lightest, most elegant prose.
Wang’s characters embark on extramarital affairs, buckle under intense peer pressure, bear grudges against their fathers, and deal with illness and marital breakdown across five intense stories of Taiwanese families in crisis. These are the stories of the everyday, written with an extraordinary poetry, the emotional tempests beneath the calm exteriors of every family.
Compared to Wang’s earlier, more politically conscious work, So Hot, So Cold sees him turn to the human heart, to explore the battle between passion and detachment and the gulf between ambition and disappointment that exists inside all of us. It is this breadth that makes Wang Ting-Kuo such a crucial figure in Taiwanese literature.