The Story Behind “Shuang” by Kevin McGeary

Kevin McGeary

Today’s post is written by Kevin McGeary. We published his short story “Shuang” in in our Fall 2017 issue. 

To quote Mark Twain, “The only difference between reality and fiction is that fiction needs to be credible.”

When searching for ideas for new stories, I decided to take the seven most salacious news articles from my time in the southern Chinese media, shoehorn them into one work of fiction, and see if it could possibly work.

For what it’s worth, almost everything in my story “Shuang” is based on fact: the marriage corners, the childbirth in an internet bar bathroom, the extortions and Spring Festival “special offers” in abortion clinics, the instances of infanticide that persist to this day, the baby hatches, and even the pregnant woman storming her ex-fiance’s wedding while wearing a bridal dress,

These stories all appeared in the state media of a country not known for portraying itself negatively. However, it doesn’t really matter whether they are true. As a fiction writer, my obligation is to grab readers’ attention and create characters they can care about. To bring my title character to life, I had to research what it is like to be in her income strata, the challenges presented by being pregnant, and how arduous it is even for an able-bodied person to get into a wedding dress. She does some self-destructive and morally questionable things, but it is impossible to know how oneself would react if given so few advantages in life.

About the Author

Kevin McGeary is a Mandarin translator, musician, and MBA candidate. His Chinese-language songwriting has been the subject of features in China Daily and on Guangdong Television. He is working on a collection set in the Chinese metropolis of Shenzhen.

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