Image: Eleen Lin, “Oracle”, 2015, 105 x 84 in., Watercolor, gouache, acrylic, ink, lead, pastel, and charcoal on paper. © Eleen Lin. Courtesy of the artist.
This month we present new work by women writers from Taiwan. In prose, poetry, and drama, the six authors here focus on characters on the cusp of change, displaying an astute sense of decisive moments and their role in shaping relationships. On his way to an aboriginal village wedding, Shih Chiung-Yu’s young man recalls the harrowing secret he shares with the disgraced bride. Su Wei-chen charts the ragged grief of a new widow escorting her husband on his final journey. Qiu Miaojin, the first openly lesbian writer in Taiwan, depicts the thrilling moment when a teenage girl finally gets her crush alone. Hsia Yü charts the quotidian in a partnership both personal and professional. Playwright Shen Wan-ting’s two-hander finds an Indonesian caretaker comforting her elderly charge the night before parting. And Ye Mimi offers a seasonal gift. We thank guest editor Jeremy Tiang, who contributes an introduction and two translations. Elsewhere, we present Flemish fiction from Michael Bijnens, Lize Spit, and Griet Op de Beeck and a graphic novel by Michaël Olbrechts, introduced and with translations by Michele Hutchison. We thank the Flemish Literary Fund for its support.
Literary Heroes: Women Writers from Taiwan
Taiwanese women have proved adept at carving out spaces for themselves.
From “The March of Time”
“Whatever kind of person you were, that’s the kind of ghost you’ll be.”
From “Notes of a Crocodile”
“What if we ran out of things to talk about?”
“I’m sorry. I’ll change your pants right away.”
From “The Ringing of the Rain has a Forgiving Grace”
I am willing to carve you a ten-second slice of winter.
We Deliver More Than We Promise
I’m the pig, I said, you’re just an idiot
Wedding in Autumn
Even when she spoke, she mumbled, like her voice was stuck in her throat.
Reviewed by Eric Dickens
A thoroughly modern man in an Early Modern world rises from humble origins to greatness through wit and learning.
Reviewed by Emily Lever
“Dying has never been our true suffering. All of our sufferings, in fact, have been born . . . from having to live in this mutable world.”