迟书雁的英文小说《霸王龙的女儿》不同于大多数迪斯尼有关动物的故事；这本书不是人通过动物来讲述人的故事、思想和感情，而是让鸟通过人的语言来讲述动物的感情、思想和故事。这个小说主要是讲一只名叫“小红脸”的母鸡的故事：她希望她的姐姐们别再啄她，她渴望爱情和自由，她想要适应新的环境，她需要存活和安全，她面临两难境况——是与人作战还是和解。 简而言之，这是小红脸成长的故事。我们在她的成长中看到一只温柔的小鸡如何变为一个勇敢的母亲——是jayken 的母亲，这个自创的合成字在小说中一定会给读者带来会心一笑。这也是一个流浪汉小说，随着小红脸的历险，我们也会看到其它鸟类的生活：它们的爱情和友谊，骄傲和嫉妒，脱毛与抱窝，为了生存而挣扎，为了统制而战斗。
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Foreword of The Daughter of T-rex
Different from most Disney stories about animals in which humans talk through animals about human plot, ideas, and emotions, The Daughter of T-rex has birds talking in a human language about the emotions, ideas, and plot of animals. This novel is about birds, primarily about a hen called Little Redface: her wish to be left alone by her sisters, her longing for love and freedom, her desire to fit in, her need for security and survival, and her dilemma to fight humans or to reconcile. In a word, this is her Bildungsroman. We see her change and development from a meek chick to a mature hen of jaykens, a portmanteau word invented in this novel that promises delight in its context. This is also a picaresque story through which we see Little Redface’s adventures and the lives of other birds: their love and friendship, pride and jealousy, molting and brooding, struggle for life and fight for dominance.
Obviously, our human experiences teem with similar occurrences and conflicts, and so Little Redface’s story coincide with ours in more ways than one. Therefore, this novel is not only about birds; especially Little Redface’s questions about love and freedom, her choices between fight and tolerance, and how humans can live with nature and other animals harmoniously, these are more of human contemplation and hesitation. The author, Shuyan Chi, is an immigrant who came to the states less than nine years ago, and it is not hard to see in Little Redface’s story her own reflections on the new life in this brave new world.
When Shuyan Chi just came to this country, she could not speak English at all although she was already a published writer in China. She continued to write in Chinese and won the second prize in the Chinese National Short Story Contest in 2010 while she was diligently learning English here. She is also an animal lover and has five chickens in her backyard. When she began to write about them in English, she had doubt about her expressiveness in using the language. “At least, I can tell a good story in simple English. After all it’s about birds and I don’t need sophisticated words and syntax.” She convinced herself, and we have a fascinating story matched with her writing style. I was drawn into this story as soon as I began reading it and became concerned about the fate of Little Redface. I wanted to know how she would elope with Jack, how she would survive in the wild, if she would fight humans… I promise you will, too.
Kang Liao, Ph.D.