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The English-language premiere of Qiu Miaojin's coming-of-age novel about queer teenagers in Taiwan, a cult classic in China and winner of the 1995 China Times Literature Award.
An NYRB Classics Original
Set in the post-martial-law era of late-1980s Taipei, Notes of a Crocodile is a coming-of-age story of queer misfits discovering love, friendship, and artistic affinity while hardly studying at Taiwan's most prestigious university. Told through the eyes of an anonymous lesbian narrator nicknamed Lazi, this cult classic is a postmodern pastiche of diaries, vignettes, mash notes, aphorisms, exegesis, and satire by an incisive prose stylist and major countercultural figure.
Afflicted by her fatalistic attraction to Shui Ling, an older woman, Lazi turns for support to a circle of friends that includes a rich kid turned criminal and his troubled, self-destructive gay lover, as well as a bored, mischievous overachiever and her alluring slacker artist girlfriend. Illustrating a process of liberation from the strictures of gender through radical self-inquiry, Notes of a Crocodile is a poignant masterpiece of social defiance by a singular voice in contemporary Chinese literature.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Susie Bright on 04-18-18
Heartbreak Like a Thousand Cuts
Author Xiu Miaojin was the butch lesbian Sylvia Plath of Taiwan. By that, I mean both a martyred poet by her own hand— and someone that readers saw their own life reflected by, a million times.
The heroine of Qiu's roman a clef is “Lazi," which has become the slang-nickname for “gay girl” all over China and Southeast Asia.
The book was translated to English by Bonnie Huie. Jo Mei is a terrific newer VO— she has that 21st century sound, and a deviation from everything people think they know about Chinese heroines. Playful, devastating, and a heartbreak like a thousand cuts.
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