Category: Taiwan

Lo Yi-Chin: 遠方 (Faraway)

The latest addition to my website is Lo Yi-Chin‘s 遠方 (Faraway). Our hero, also called Lo Yi-Chin, is a Taiwanese novelist. His father left China in 1949, abandoning his family, and fled to Taiwan where he started a new family. He has since been back and has now gone on a tour when he has a stroke. Lo Yi-Chin and his mother fly to Jiujiang (a fuckhole of a town, our author describes it), in what he considers very much a third world country. Much of the book is devoted to his dealing with the Chinese system (bribes obligatory) and trying to fly his father back to Taipei, where he can be treated properly, though he ruminates on many topics including novels and novel-writing, the other patients and, of course, father-son relationships. It could have been boring but Lo Yi-Chin writes so well that we never lose interest.

Ta-wei Chi: 膜 (Membranes)

The latest addition to my website is Ta-wei Chi‘s 膜 (Membranes). This novel is a queer transgender climate-change Taiwanese novel set in the twenty-second century. Everyone now lives under the sea because of climate change. We follow the story of Momo, the top skincare specialist in T City. Momo lives a solitary life, seeing only her clients and giving them a membrane which she can, with a scanner, determine what they have been doing. She had a serious operation when she was seven – she was in hospital for three years – as a result of which she lost both her friend Andy (who we know to have been a cyborg) and also her penis (all is later explained). Since then she has fallen out with her mother, a successful publisher, and they have had no contact for twenty years. Now as she approaches thirty, mother reappears and Momo is determined to find out what happened. She and we are in for a shock. This is an excellent novel, dealing with Momo’s mental state, new technology and Momo’s mental state as well as climate change and the major plot twist.

Sakinu Ahronglong: 山豬 (Hunter School)

The latest addition to my website is Sakinu Ahronglong‘s 山豬 (Hunter School). Ahronglong belongs to the Paiwan people, one of the indigenous peoples of Taiwan and this is basically his story and the story of his people and their attempts to preserve their way of life. He does this by telling tales of himself, his family and their people. Above all, they are in tune with nature and remain so, even when hunting. We learn about their habits and the habits of the animals, about their relationship with the neighbouring Amis people (not always good), with the majority Han Chinese (definitely not good), about how drunkenness has become common and how the people have lost their way. Ahronglong’s aim throughout the book is to preserve their way of life and restore their lost cultural values. It is a thoroughly enjoyable book, very well told by its author.

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