NetGalley, Weird, Women's

When sh… gets too literary for me, even if awards are involved The Kite Family by Hon Lai-chu

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★★☆☆☆  2 stars
Received ARC for review

Man, do we have some deep literary shit here. Been reading this since September, and was it a tough cookie. Parts sparked my interest, and then… the stories would get so mixed up I wouldn’t know what to make of them.

When I stumble upon books like that, I always wonder – is it me? Or..?

However, I’m not going to judge. Maybe it’s just not for me. And I have to admit, as crazy and all over the place the stories are, they do paint quite strong impressions of the world the author wants to show us. Maybe the right way to read this is like looking at an impressionist painting – from far away, not trying to make sense of the details, but simply following the emotions it stirs up. The closest of a simile I can find for the storytelling in this book is… dreams. You get into the story, maybe start seeing through the metaphors… And then suddenly a giant pterodactyl sweeps by and the story changes and completely  runs away from you.

Well, okay. Not literally a pterodactyl, but the comparison is really quite close to the reality. It’s just so… weird. And yet – there is a certain logic, certain laws. But they’re so otherworldly – all I can compare it to are dreams.

I have the feeling though that the author wanted to put everything in code, use metaphors for literally everything she wanted to say. In a way it’s interesting, but I can get only like 25% of all of those – the rest is too complicated. I wonder if someone else gets the rest – it would be interesting to try to see where she was going with it.

But I’m always like that. I’ll always first assume IT’S ME. The other reviews though, point in the direction of me being in the majority. I do read literary, but man, was this too literary for me 😀 I’m glad it’s received awards in Hong Kong, and maybe some things just get lost in translation? God only knows.

To give you a taste of how weird this book is, have a quote. And if you think that’s a good metaphor, well, it DOES sound good when it’s on its own… but this book is MADE of these:

“We’ve arranged new housing for you. In addition to basic furnishings, the unit is equipped with a father, mother-in-law, a husband and a younger brother.”

This is Gregor Samsa, in roach form, but on crack, with a glass of beer and a smokin’ joint. In a burning spaceship. Closest I can get to what it felt like.

So needless to say, it missed me. It totally missed me.

What’s the last super weird literary book you’ve read? Did you feel like you ‘got it’? Are you curious about a book like that when you read the review?