I Live in the Slums Can Xue, Karen Gernant, Zeping Chen

The Margellos World Republic of Letters
Publication date:
14 Jul 2020
Yale University Press
288 pages: 197 x 127mm
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In Can Xue’s world the superficial is peeled away to reveal layers of depth and meaning. Her stories observe no conventions of plot or characterization and limn a chaotic, poetic state ordered by the extreme logic of philosophy.
Combining elements of both Chinese materiality—the love of physical things—and Western abstract thinking, Can Xue invites her readers into an immersive landscape that blends empirical fact and illusion, mixes the physical and spiritual, and probes the space between consciousness and unconsciousness. She brings us to a place that is both readily familiar yet unmappable and can make us hyperaware of the inherent unreliability in our relationship to the world around us. Delightful, enchanting, and full of mystery and secrets, Can Xue’s newest collection shines a light on the forces that give contours to the visible terrain we acknowledge as reality.

Can Xue is the pseudonym of renowned avant-garde author Deng Xiaohua. Her previous works include Five Spice Street, Vertical Motion, The Last Lover, Frontier, and Love in the New Millennium. She lives in Xishuangbanna in Yunnan Province. Karen Gernant is professor emerita of Chinese history at Southern Oregon University. Chen Zeping is professor of Chinese linguistics at Fujian Normal University, Fuzhou.