Vertical Motion by Can Xue (tr. Karen Gernant, Chen Zeping)

a nutshell: a fantastic rabbit hole of stories becoming trippier & trippier as the collection goes on, with two common elements throughout: (i) some sense of up/down and (ii) a blend of real/reverie

a line: “Mrs. Yun thought it had discerned her deepest, innermost ideas. Actually, she herself didn’t know exactly what those ideas were”

an image: a cat describes its owner’s belief in equal rights – how they sit at the table with their own bowls and eat the same food, except our narrator avoids beer and dislikes fruit

a thought: a totally invigorating read; each story is like a snowflake – thoroughly idiosyncratic and of its own moment

a fact: Can Xue is a pseudonym meaning ‘dirty snow’ – the writer, Deng Xiaohua, graduated only from primary school after her parents were sent to the countryside during China’s Cultural Revolution; she taught herself English and wrote various publications in the language

 

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