That We May Live by Two Lines Press

“That We May Live by Two Lines Press

““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.””

For me, this really sparked my interested: translated Chinese fiction, speculative fiction! I’m in! Sadly, this collection didn’t live up to my high expectations, but I still enjoyed most of the stories.

First off, the book was a unique size. It was a square. The title page of each story had a quote in Chinese and English on a beautifully designed red grid-like pattern.

Although I didn’t like all the stories, there were a few I really like and this is now leading me to seek out those authors. I like diving into sort of unknown collections like this so I can be introduced to new authors that I wouldn’t normally encounter. I guess that’s party the reason I love translated fiction so much, I am always striving to break out of my North American-European-English-bubble.

““Sour Meat”” By Dorothy Tse ★★★★

Translated from Chinese by Natascha Bruce

““Auntie Han’s Modern Life”” By Enoch Tam ★★

Translated from Chinese by Jeremy Tiang

““Lip Service”” By Zhu Hui ★★★★

Translated from Chinese by Michael Day

  • I really liked this one. A look at the life of a woman newscaster, and her hidden life.

““The Elephant”” By Chan Chi Wa

Translated from Chinese by Audrey Heijns

““The Mushroom Houses Proliferated in District M”” By Enoch Tam ★★

Translated from Chinese by Jeremy Tiang

  • This definitely a story about the rage of overpriced housing in Asia, and scammy developers.

““A Counterfeit Life”” By Chen Si’an ★★★

Translated from Chinese by Canaan Morse

  • I like the downbeat, analysis of why do we really want a boring 9-5 job? This is a good 2020 story about people who .

““Flourishing Beasts”” By Yan Ge ★★★★

Translated from Chinese by Jeremy Tiang

These stories were all so unique, I think I may actually benefit from re-reading them again. I think a lot of them have lots of metaphors and allusions as they have been written in China, a repressive authoritarian country that does not like literature that analyzes, pokes fun at, or exposes the ills its government.

Rating: ★★★ Book #115 in my My 2020 Reading Challenge #Books #BookReview #CalicoSeries #TwoLinesPress #ChineseLit #SpeculativeFiction #TranslatedFiction”,

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