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Bestiary
$24.95

Bestiary

By K-Ming Chang
272 pages
Paperback
September 2020

 

NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW EDITORS’ CHOICE • Three generations of Taiwanese American women are haunted by the myths of their homeland in this spellbinding, visceral debut about one family’s queer desires, violent impulses, and buried secrets.

One evening, Mother tells Daughter a story about a tiger spirit who lived in a woman’s body. She was called Hu Gu Po, and she hungered to eat children, especially their toes. Soon afterward, Daughter awakes with a tiger tail. And more mysterious events follow: Holes in the backyard spit up letters penned by her grandmother; a visiting aunt arrives with snakes in her belly; a brother tests the possibility of flight. All the while, Daughter is falling for Ben, a neighborhood girl with strange powers of her own. As the two young lovers translate the grandmother’s letters, Daughter begins to understand that each woman in her family embodies a myth—and that she will have to bring her family’s secrets to light in order to change their destiny.

With a poetic voice of crackling electricity, K-Ming Chang is an explosive young writer who combines the wit and fabulism of Helen Oyeyemi with the subversive storytelling of Maxine Hong Kingston. Tracing one family’s history from Taiwan to America, from Arkansas to California, Bestiary is a novel of migration, queer lineages, and girlhood.
“Gorgeous and gorgeously grotesque . . . Every line of this sensuous, magical-realist marvel—about multiple generations of Taiwanese-American women in Arkansas whose lives are imbued with cultural and familial myth—is utterly alive.”O: The Oprah Magazine

“Young queer love, family secrets, and a girl who grows a tiger tail, all told by a language obsessive? Extremely sold.”—Lithub
 
“K-Ming Chang, an extremely talented young Taiwanese-American author, offers a wild portrait of three generations of women who have in them tigers, snakes, and birds: the myths of their homeland.”The Millions
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English
English