Remains of Life by Wu He
A Novel (Modern Chinese Literature from Taiwan)

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A brilliant but immensely challenging work, of great interest to students of contemporary Asian fiction—and of the literature of atrocity and remembrance as well.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

On October 27, 1930, during a sports meet at Musha Elementary School on an aboriginal reservation in the mountains of Taiwan, a bloody uprising occurred unlike anything Japan had experienced in its colonial history. Before noon, the Atayal tribe had slain one hundred and thirty-four Japanese in a headhunting ritual. The Japanese responded with a militia of three thousand, heavy artillery, airplanes, and internationally banned poisonous gas, bringing the tribe to the brink of genocide.

Nearly seventy years later, Chen Guocheng, a writer known as Wu He, or "Dancing Crane," investigated the Musha Incident to search for any survivors and their descendants. Remains of Life, a milestone of Chinese experimental literature, is a fictionalized account of the writer's experiences among the people who live their lives in the aftermath of this history. Written in a stream-of-consciousness style, it contains no paragraph breaks and only a handful of sentences. Shifting among observations about the people the author meets, philosophical musings, and fantastical leaps of imagination, Remains of Life is a powerful literary reckoning with one of the darkest chapters in Taiwan's colonial history.

 

About Wu He

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Wu He is a native of Tainan, Taiwan, and came to prominence in 1974 with the publication of his award-winning short story, "Peony Autumn." He spent much of the 1980s and 1990s in seclusion before returning to the literary world with a string of powerful and challenging books, including Digging for Bones (1995), The Sea at Seventeen (1997), Wu He Danshui (2001), Ghost and Goblin (2005), and Chaos and Confusion (2007).
 
Published April 11, 2017 by Columbia University Press. 344 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Kirkus

Excellent
on Feb 12 2017

A brilliant but immensely challenging work, of great interest to students of contemporary Asian fiction—and of the literature of atrocity and remembrance as well.

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