Strange Best of China - Yan Ge
In the city of Yongan, a fiction writer and 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 sidekick-student 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 multifaceted beastliness Part detective story, part metaphysical enquiry, Strange Beasts of China addresses existential questions of identity, being, love and morality with whimsy and grace.
Tilted Axis Press. 2020. 283 pages. Paperback.