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August 2016

Turning Points: Women Writers from Taiwan

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.

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Book Reviews

“The Ropewalker: Between Three Plagues, Volume I” by Jaan Kross

Reviewed by Eric Dickens

A thoroughly modern man in an Early Modern world rises from humble origins to greatness through wit and learning.

“Me Against the World” by Kazufumi Shiraishi

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.”

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