Thursday, 26 March 2020

#BlogTour Two Lives by A Yi

Happy Publication Day and it's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Two Lives: Tales of Life, Love & Crime by A Yi, translated by Alex Woodend.
About the Author
A Yi (author) is a celebrated Chinese writer living in Beijing. He worked as a police officer before becoming editor-in chief of Chutzpah,an avant garde literary magazine. He is the author of several collections of short stories and has published fiction in Granta and the Guardian. In 2010 he was
shortlisted for the People's Literature Top 20 Literary Giants of the Future. A Perfect Crime, his first book in English was published by Oneworld in 2015. He is noted for his unsentimental worldview,and challenging literary style.

Alex Woodend (Translator) is a writer/translator whose fascination with Spanish and Chinese began at Franklin & Marshall College. He continued his studies at Columbia University where he wrote his Masters on early post-Mao literature. Translator of The Captain Riley Adventures , Murder in Dragon City, and other works, he currently lives in New York.

Follow A Yi on GoodreadsBuy Two Lives

About the book
Seven stories, seven whispers into the ears of life: A Yi’s unexpected twists of crime burst from the everyday, with glimpses of romance distorted by the weaknesses of human motive. A Yi employs his forensic skills to offer a series of portraits of modern life, both uniquely Chinese,and universal in their themes.
These are seven stories, seven vastly different tales about the imperfection of humankind. The depths people can and do sink to when life doesn't go their way or a simple blip seems like an insurmountable barrier.

This book contains the following stories: Two Lives, Attic, Spring, Bach, Human Sum, Fat Duck and Predator.

Two Lives - I suppose it's up to each reader to determine the moral of this story or indeed any one of the following. I felt as if the monk closing the door became the supposed the catalyst for future events and behaviour. 'You deny me therefore you are to blame for my choices.'

The monk's behaviour becomes the path travelled analogy except he closes off one path therefore is to blame for the more volatile choices Zhou makes. Or, as I would argue, were those choices always part of his character and a possibility?

Attic - favourite sentence ' just lie there and let the man poke, be good'. That just literally describes the fraction of women who support and encourage the misogyny the patriarchal society is steeped in. When the pressures put on certain genders cause the kind of reaction that is unfathomable.

Predator - As in Attic the dysfunctional relationship between mother and child plays a role. In general how narcissism and control defines the structure of family relationships, and more importantly the way siblings interact when the negativity comes from the mother - the caregiver. The obsessive, neurotic fear of death becomes an almost self-fulfilling prophecy. I think therefore it is. I create enough negative energy to invoke something in another person that swallows them whole.

It's literary fiction - noir meets cynicism and the reality of human failings.

I think it's possible, despite the excellent translation, that perhaps some of the style and specific literary quirk of this author gets lost along the way. A certain essence perhaps that is often only notable in original language.

A Yi likes to expand the consciousness of mind and language, which doesn't always end with beauty, because the reality is that the world is full of cruelty, mistakes, greed and selfishness. These stories serve as a reminder of the obscure nature of life and its very many bitter endings.

Buy Two Lives at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Flame Tree Press; pub date 26 Mar. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

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