kaya publishes books of the asian pacific diaspora

✚Other Authors

H. T. Tsiang

Poet, playwright, and novelist. Hsi Tseng Tsiang (H. T. Tsiang) was born in China in 1899 and came to America as a young man. He was involved with the Greenwich Village literary scene in the 1920s and 1930s, and self-published a number of books which he would hawk at downtown political meetings. Tsiang also appeared as an actor in Hollywood, most notably in the film Tokyo Rose. He died in 1971 in Los Angeles, CA.


The Hanging on Union Square

Kaya Press 2013

H.T. Tsiang’s satiric, quasi-experimental novel The Hanging on Union Square explores leftist politics in Depression-era New York – an era of union busting and food lines – in an ambitious style that combines humor-laced allegory with snatches of poetry, newspaper quotations, non sequiturs, and slogans. Back in print for the first time since it was originally self-published in 1935, Kaya’s new edition of the novel follows out-of-work protagonist Mr. Nut from a workers’ cafeteria to dinner clubs and sexual exploitation in the highest echelons of society, then back again to the streets of Greenwich Village, where starving families rub shoulders with the recently evicted. In the process, Tsiang captures, hour-by-hour, Mr. Nut’s profound transformation from itinerant roustabout to radical activist. Adventurous and unclassifiable in its combination of avant-garde and proletarian concerns, The Hanging on Union Square is a major rediscovery of a uniquely American voice.


And China Has Hands


Originally published in 1937, And China Has Hands, the final published novel of literary gadfly and political radical H.T. Tsiang (author of The Hanging on Union Square), takes place in a 1930s New York defined as much by chance encounters as by economic inequalities and corruption.

Written with a poignant simplicity that mirrors Wong’s own alienation in a foreign land, Tsiang shows us the world of 1930s New York through the eyes of Wan-Lee Wong, a newly arrived, nearly penniless, Chinese immigrant everyman who falls in love with Pearl Chang, a biracial Chinese and African American woman who wanders into his life. This unusually intimate portrait of coming to race and class consciousness, told with the pointed, political brevity of early Gertrude Stein and set against the backdrop of the Great Depression, illuminates the challenges endured by generations of Chinese who tried to assimilate into an alien culture, pining in utter obscurity for their homeland.


“This is a voice to which the White world … will have to listen more and more as time passes. I do not mean to this particular young Chinese Poet, but to the movement which he voices.”

Upton Sinclair, “The Jungle”

“I finished H.T. Tsiang’s masterpiece a few hours ago and I’m still not sure where I am and what day this is. My mind has been picked apart and reassembled. I need a drink.”

Gary Shteyngart, “Super Sad True Love Story”

“I became fascinated with the Chinese-American writer H.T. Tsiang when I found a first edition of The Hanging on Union Square. It felt like slipping into another person’s hallucination.”

— Hua Hsu, “A Floating Chinaman” (forthcoming)

H. T. Tsiang news

Revolutionary Oddball: A Celebration of Writer H. T. Tsiang

On Thursday, October 20th, we will be celebrating And China Has Hands, a novel by political activist, life-long eccentric, and agitprop author H.T. Tsiang. Tsiang’s mostly self-published experimental novels and poetry, published in the 1920s and 1930s, are a testament to his singular unwillingness to compromise his vision or his politics in order to fit within the […]

Radical Failure as Revolutionary Agitprop: Celebrating the Life & Work of H.T. Tsiang

We over here at Kaya Press are more than proud to host a reading and discussion of H.T. Tsiang and his writings by New Yorker contributing writer Hua Hsu, whose recently published A Floating Chinaman: Fantasy and Failure Across the Pacific (Harvard University Press), explores Tsiang’s life in detail. Joining him will be Floyd Cheung, the scholar and writer who […]

H.T. Tsiang: Don’t Call It A Comeback

Our very own Kaya Press board member (and recent Pulitzer Prize winner), Viet Thanh Nguyen, recently penned a piece for the New Yorker called Reconsidering the Work of a Chinese Immigrant. Our main man Nguyen reviewed a book by Hua Hsu entitled A Floating Chinaman: Fantasy and Failure Across the Pacific that acts a biography […]

the cover of a book / is more of a book / than the book is a book

On the top is a photograph of an original, self-published (circa 1935) copy of H.T. Tsiang’s The Hanging on Union Square—a satiric, quasi-experimental novel that explores leftist politics in Depression-era New York. True to Tsiang’s radical aesthetic, the original copy does not show the title of the book, instead questioning what a book cover really […]


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— Junot Díaz