Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Review: That We May Live

That We May Live That We May Live by Chen Si'an
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"The essential idea behind Calico is, let's talk to the translators... find out what's interesting, what's not being published in English, what's percolating in other parts of the world that we haven't heard about yet. THAT WE MAY LIVE is a collection of speculative Chinese fiction... of unnerving, uncanny, weird stories about urbanization and late capitalism." - Chad Felix of Two Lines Press in this interview.

I've been reading these stories very slowly, just one every few days/weeks or so, since I shelved it next to my computer where I work all the time. They definitely feel like they are in conversation with other works from Asia, particularly South Korea, but that connection may be more about what has been translated vs. what hasn't been.

Sour Meat by Dorothy Tse
A surreal story about a stinky brew, also about women's bodies... would have loved some editor or translator notes with some context as it seems intentionally sexual as if it is trying to push boundaries, but what are the boundaries in China, I don't know....

Auntie Han's Modern Life by Enoch Tam
"Every time she came home, she felt as if it were to a different house on a different street."
garden-keepers cultivating skyscrapers
houses that move, houses that are depressed

Lip Service by Zhu Hui
Oof! A punchy tale of what a naturally beautiful woman has to be willing to do to stay on top.

The Elephant by Chan Chi Wa
Clearly in conversation with "The Elephant Vanishes" by Haruki Murakami, the narrator of this story has a similar emotional experience about an elephant but it has the added layer of living in a state of surveillance.

The Mushroom Houses Proliferated in District M by Enoch Tam
Continuing the themes of the earlier story by the same author, it's about the garden keepers and their war with the mushrooms.

A Counterfeit Life by Chen Si'an
"He started roaming around every corner of the city, searching for those spots in which people being waited for might fail to show up."

Flourishing Beasts by Yan Ge
Are you a [woman] or are you a [beast]?
View all my reviews

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for visiting the Reading Envy blog and podcast. Word verification has become necessary because of spam.