Monday 16 September 2013

Gold Boy, Emerald Girl

(September 2013)

Wow. I read the same author’s The Vagrants a couple of years back, and that was very good in a well-crafted, interesting sort of way, but this is a whole other level. This is truly outstanding.

A collection of short(ish) stories about modern China and modern Chinese, and all quite viscerally, magnificently sad. I’ve put down books before because I was feeling a bit squeamish, I’ve put down books before because they weren’t very good, I’ve never put down a book before because it made the space inside my chest twist so much with sadness that it was an actual physical sensation. These stories are all about the loss of what was and the absence of what never will be. Grubby, lonely, tales of soiled and tarnished souls in a soiled and tarnished world, all wrapped around an achingly painful absence that you know is there only because it’s not.

I’m using too many adjectives here, I’m using too many words. All of them are inadequate. I can’t even


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