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Yan Ge won an English PEN award and was shortlisted for the 2021 Warwick Prize for Women in Translation. Her novel Strange Beasts of China is set in the city of Yong’an where an amateur cryptozoologist is commissioned to uncover the stories of its fabled beasts. These creatures — with their greenish stomachs or gills or strange birthmarks — live alongside humans in near-inconspicuousness, some with ancient forbears, others engineered as artificial breeds. Guided – and often misguided – by her elusive university professor, and his scrappy student sidekick Zhong Liang, our narrator finds herself on a mission to track down each species. And as she blunders from one implausible situation to the next, she comes one step closer to revealing her own inner beast… Part detective story, part metaphysical enquiry, Strange Beasts addresses existential questions of identity, being, love and morality with whimsy and grace.
Tell Everyone On This Train I Love Them is a funny, complex story of an immigrant and her difficult relationship with America after moving there. As an eternally curious outsider, Maeve Higgins can see that the United States is still an experiment. Some parts work well and others really don’t, but that doesn’t stop her from loving the place and the people that make it. With piercing political commentary in a sweet and salty tone, these essays unearth the beauty of it all and the dark parts, too. Maeve attends the 2020 Border Security Expo to better understand the future of our borders and finds herself at the Alamo surrounded by queso and homemade rifles. A chance encounter with a statue of a teenage horseback rider causes her to interrogate the purpose of monuments, this sends her hurtling through the past, connecting Ireland’s revolutionary history with the struggles of Black Americans today. And after mistaking edibles for innocent candies, Maeve gets way too high at Paper Source. Most of all, Maeve wants to leave the US the this planet better than she found it. That may well be impossible, but it certainly means showing love. Lots of it, even when it’s difficult to do so. Threaded through these pieces is love for strangers, love for friends who show up right on time, love for trees, love for Tom Hardy, love for those with differing opinions, love for the glamorous older women of Brighton Beach with tattooed eyeliner and gold jewelry, love for everybody on this train.
Yan Ge was born in Sichuan, China in 1984. She is a fiction writer in both Chinese and English. She is the author of thirteen books in Chinese, including six...Read More
Maeve Higgins is a writer whose work appears regularly in The New York Times, The New York Review of Books and The Guardian. A New Yorker originally from Ireland, she is an NPR...Read More
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