A Taiwanese Life of Pi
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Published: 29 August 2013
Genre: General & literary fiction
On the island of Wayo Wayo, every second son must leave on the day he turns fifteen as a sacrifice to the Sea God. Atile’i is one such boy, but as the strongest swimmer and best sailor, he is determined to defy destiny and become the first to survive. Alice Shih, who has lost her husband and son in a climbing accident, is quietly preparing to commit suicide in her house by the sea. But her plan is interrupted when a vast trash vortex comes crashing onto the shore of Taiwan, bringing Atile’i with it. In the aftermath of the catastrophe, Atile’i and Alice retrace her late husband’s footsteps into the mountains, hoping to solve the mystery of her son’s disappearance. On their journey, memories will be challenged, an unusual bond formed, and a dark secret uncovered that will force Alice to question everything she thought she knew.
A haunting and evocative tale, beautifully told. I wept at the description of the dying whales and the approaching tsunami ... I think this work will be a classic
Hugh Howey, author of WOOL,
Frankly, astonishing… A wonderful novel which deserves a very wide audience
David Barnett, Independent on Sunday
Inventive narrative… The depiction of Atile’i’s magical realm and his innocent wonder at this unfamiliar and murky world is imaginative and moving
Trisha Andres, Financial Times
Shuttles between ... two realms with a dizzying ease reminiscent of Haruki Murakami, twisting the dreamlike into the curiously credible
Times Literary Supplement
We haven't read anything like this novel. Ever. South America gave us magical realism – what is Taiwan giving us? A new way of telling our new reality, beautiful, entertaining, frightening, preposterous, true. Completely unsentimental but never brutal, Wu Ming-Yi treats human vulnerability and the world's vulnerability with fearless tenderness
Ursula Le Guin,
Intriguing… An earnest, politically conscious novel... anchored in the gritty mess of what it means to remember and to exist as an individual
Tash Aw, Guardian
An extraordinary near-future adventure
chosen as one of the '50 Best Winter Reads', Independent
A novel of the near future in which genre boundaries no longer have any meaning... The twists and turns of The Man with the Compound Eyes provide compelling reading. It is safe to say you will read nothing else quite like it
Maureen Kincaid Speller, Interzone
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Wu Ming-Yi is a Taiwanese writer, painter, designer, photographer, literary professor, butterfly scholar, environmental activist, traveller and blogger. He is the author of the novel Routes in the Dream ...