The Kite Family by Hon Lai Chu
Translated by Andrea Lingenfelter. Published in English by Muse in 2016.
The original Chinese edition won the New Writer's Novella prize from Taiwan's Unitas Literary Association
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How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publishers via NetGalley
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I don't think that I have read any Hong Kong fiction before so I was interested to try this highly praised short story collection by Hon Lai-Chu. The book consists of six stories including an award-winning novella which gives the collection its name, The Kite Family.
Unfortunately, I struggled to understand what the author was trying to say in most of the stories. Forrest Woods, Chair is perhaps the most accessible and, in this tale, a man who is unable to find any other employment trains his body to take the form of various types of chair so he can hire himself out for other people to sit on. Surreal and weird, but I think I managed to comprehend everything that happened. For the final story, Notes On An Epidemic, I understood the general gist - a woman recovering from a type of influenza caused by living alone is forced to cohabit in a pretend family environment in order to recover - but feel as though I missed layers of meaning that were in small details. The other four tales were way over my head and, even though I read them slowly from start to finish, I couldn't figure out how their disparate elements connected or what the underlying plot was so found them very frustrating and unsatisfying.
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Books by Hon Lai Chu / Short stories / Books from Hong Kong