Found in Translation Book Club: Notes of a Crocodile by Qiu Miaojin
Join us for August's meeting of Found in Translation! This is a book club where each month we dive into a fresh English translations of stand-out fiction from around the world.
This month, we're reading Notes of a Crocodile by Qiu Miaojin, translated by Bonnie Huie.
The English-language premiere of Qiu Miaojin's coming-of-age novel about queer teenagers in Taiwan, a cult classic in China and winner of the 1995 China Times Literature Award.
Set in the post-martial-law era of late-1980s Taipei, Notes of a Crocodile is a coming-of-age story of queer misfits discovering love, friendship, and artistic affinity while hardly studying at Taiwan's most prestigious university. Told through the eyes of an anonymous lesbian narrator nicknamed Lazi, this cult classic is a postmodern pastiche of diaries, vignettes, mash notes, aphorisms, exegesis, and satire by an incisive prose stylist and major countercultural figure.
Afflicted by her fatalistic attraction to Shui Ling, an older woman, Lazi turns for support to a circle of friends that includes a rich kid turned criminal and his troubled, self-destructive gay lover, as well as a bored, mischievous overachiever and her alluring slacker artist girlfriend.
Illustrating a process of liberation from the strictures of gender through radical self-inquiry, Notes of a Crocodile is a poignant masterpiece of social defiance by a singular voice in contemporary Chinese literature.
Despite a short life, Qiu Miaojin has left behind a notable legacy in contemporary Chinese literature. Her writings, along with her tragic death, have shed new light on the predicament gays and lesbians faced in Taiwanese society.... At the heart of Qiu's work lies the author's recognition that the nature of passion and love intensifies human existence in both its most beautiful and its most monstrous moments.
--Li-hua Ying, Professor of English, Bard College
Qiu Miaojin...had an exceptional talent. Her voice is assertive, intellectual, witty, lyrical, and intimate...her works continue to command a huge following among college-educated lesbians in Taiwan, for she gave beautiful and soulful expression to the experiences of that community.
--Tze-Lan D. Sang, Professor of Chinese literature and media studies, Michigan State University
Join us! Book club books purchased at City Lit Books are discounted 10%. No sign up necessary! Email firstname.lastname@example.org for questions.