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The Strange Tales of Pu Songling (1640-1715) are exquisite and amusing miniatures that are regarded as the pinnacle of classical Chinese fiction. With their elegant prose, witty wordplay and subtle charm, the 104 stories in this selection reveal a world in which nothing is as it seems. Here a Taoist monk conjures up a magical pear tree, a scholar recounts his previous incarnations, a woman out-foxes the fox-spirit that possesses her, a child bride gives birth to a thimble-sized baby, a ghostly city appears out of nowhere and a heartless daughter-in-law is turned into a pig. In his tales of humans coupling with shape-shifting spirits, bizarre phenomena, haunted buildings and enchanted objects, Pu Songling pushes back the boundaries of human experience and enlightens as he entertains.

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