“A noirish fever dream of beasts, fables, and the general weird.
Nine chapters, that often read more like vignettes, follow a nameless cryptozoologist/journalist as she catalogs a series of wildly inventive creatures, each used to explore wider themes of identity and suffering, flourishing and grief. This is a moody, atmosphere-driven novel where the interconnecting story is initially obscured both in poetic language and the mingling of fantasy and reality.
Complex and subtly dark, this is the kind of novel that engulfs you like a fog: slowly and then all at once.”
In the fictional Chinese city of Yong’an, an amateur cryptozoologist is commissioned to uncover the stories of its fabled beasts. These creatures live alongside humans in near-inconspicuousness—save their greenish skin, serrated earlobes, and strange birthmarks.
Aided by her elusive former professor and his enigmatic assistant, our narrator sets off to document each beast, and is slowly drawn deeper into a mystery that threatens her very sense of self.
Part detective story, part metaphysical enquiry, Strange Beasts of China engages existential questions of identity, humanity, love and morality with whimsy and stylistic verve.