"An amateur cryptozoologist spends her days identifying and cataloguing the strange beasts in her city of Yong'an. These beasts live alongside the city's human denizens, identifiable in their peaceable camouflage only by the subtlest physical signs: a strange birthmark, a serrated ear, a patch of scales. As she progresses in her work, our protagonist becomes drawn into a deeper mystery that entwines her in unexpectedly personal ways as her sense of self begins to waver. This book has some of the dreamlike architecture of Can Xue's work, and the metaphysical specificity of Borges'. It is a tender and hypnotic read."
From one of the most exciting voices in contemporary Chinese literature, an uncanny and playful novel that blurs the line between human and beast …
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.