The Fall of the Pagoda為張愛玲早於創作《小團圓》而寫成的英文小說作品，也是張愛玲首部英文自傳體小說合集的上部（下部為The Book of Change《易經》，將於今年九月出版）。小說以二、三十年代的上海為背景，講述女主角自四歲起母親放洋海外，其後父母離異、父親再娶，女主角處身家族成員愛恨糾纏的關係中的成長故事，充滿張愛玲童年及少女時代的影子，具有自傳色彩。
The Fall of the Pagoda, the first of two semi-autobiographical novels written originally by Eileen Chang in English, depicts in gripping detail her childhood years in Tianjin and Shanghai, while The Book of Change revolves around her wartime student days in Hong Kong. The Fall of the Pagoda introduces a young girl (called Lute) growing up amid many family entanglements with her divorced mother and spinster aunt during the 1930s in Shanghai’s International Settlement. Both novels shed light on the construction of selfhood in Chang’s other novels, through lengthy discussions of Chang’s difficult relationship with her selfishly demanding mother as well as of intricate dynamics in the extended families who emerged from aristocratic households of the late Qing Dynasty. While the main characters belong to the new Republican period, their worldviews and everyday life are still haunted by the shadows of the past.
Eileen Chang is now recognized as one of the greatest modern Chinese writers, though she was completely erased from official histories in mainland China. She was the most popular writer in Japanese-occupied Shanghai during World War II, with English and Chinese stories focusing on human frailties rather than nationalist propaganda. For her non-committal politics and idiosyncrasies, she was boycotted by fellow writers after the war and forced to the margins of literary respectability.