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Discussing Can Xue's Vertical Motion

  • Aug 12, 2014 · 7:00 PM
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The World Literature website usefully opens its review of this book with the following words:

"In her collection Vertical Motion, Can Xue establishes a trippy and surreal world: apartments float high in the air, and large owls and men with lacquer-black skin haunt troubled people. There's a common thread between Can Xue and Japanese writer Haruki Murakami in that both writers use the surreal to expound the oddness of human experiences; but where Murakami's is a kind of hipster existentialism, Can Xue roots her existentialism in folklore. In many ways, Can Xue's place is between Isaac Bashevis Singer and Franz Kafka."

Since I doubt I can do a better job of summarising what this book appears to be about, I will leave it there, and invite you to dive in to this shortish work of short stories with what may be a common theme and bring your ideas about what it's all about to our discussion!

Available all over the place, but here's where you can buy it on Amazon.


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  • Michael

    Sadly work has got the better of me...about halfway through the book though and finding it fascinating and definitely meriting a reread. My word tonight would have been 'isolation,' so throw that into the discussion should you wish!

    1 · August 12, 2014

    • Richard I.

      Sorry you couldn't make it, but glad you got something out of the book! And we did include your word!

      August 15, 2014

  • Balthazar G.

    Sorry, cancelling. Tried to get into it but just couldn't. Found the writing style rather puerile, quite possibly a translation issue. No zing to the prose. When I came across the words "a deathly silence", it was time to abandon.

    August 12, 2014

    • Balthazar G.

      Haha, true Richard, but life is short, so while I'd have loved to meet you guys, I'm not in the habit of reading things I don't enjoy; moreover, wouldn't want to turn up as it'd be unfair to the people who had read the thing properly. I gave up after 50 paragraphs; it just wasn't my thing. Am reading High Rise by Ballard at the moment which I find excellent should you be open to suggestions. Hope to meet you all some time soon.

      August 12, 2014

    • Richard I.

      Fair enough, and this is not, after all, a literary boot camp. We take suggestions at the meeting only - so another good reason to come along soon!

      August 15, 2014

  • DoloresS

    Although people were in two minds about the book it was, as usual, a great discussion.

    2 · August 13, 2014

    • Richard I.

      Only two minds?! Glad you enjoyed it, Dolores, see you at the next one!

      August 13, 2014

  • Paul B.

    Sorry, think I must have missed the one week warning for this and it caught me rather by surprise to be totally honest! Hope you all have a fun discussion

    August 11, 2014

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