Te-ping Chen Presents ‘Land of Big Numbers’


Te-ping Chen Presents ‘Land of Big Numbers’


Debut fiction author, Te-Ping Chen appeared live on Crowdcast as part of the Wisconsin Book Festival to discuss her new collection, Land of Big Numbers. This “stirring and brilliant” debut story collection offers vivid portrayals of the men and women of modern China and its diaspora. Gripping and compassionate, the collection traces the journeys of the diverse Chinese people, their history, their government, and how all of that has tumbled—messily, violently, but still beautifully—into the present. Cutting between clear-eyed realism and tongue-in-cheek magical realism, Chen’s stories coalesce into a portrait of a people striving for openings where mobility is limited. Twins take radically different paths: one becomes a professional gamer, the other a political activist. A woman moves to the city to work at a government call center and is followed by her violent ex-boyfriend. A man is swept into the high-risk, high-reward temptations of China’s volatile stock exchange. And a group of people sit, trapped for no reason, on a subway platform for months, waiting for official permission to leave. With acute social insight, Te-Ping Chen layers years of experience reporting on the ground in China with incantatory prose in this taut, surprising debut, proving herself both a remarkable cultural critic and an astonishingly accomplished new literary voice.


Te-Ping Chen is a fiction writer & journalist whose debut collection of short stories, Land of Big Numbers, was published on February 2, 2021. Her fiction has been published in The New Yorker, Granta and Tin House. She is a Wall Street Journal correspondent in Philadelphia who was previously based in Beijing and Hong Kong.