This is the story of outsiders looking out for each other, a novel that perfectly embodies the ancient Chinese phrase: “Only the wronged ever get together.” Ching-Yueh is an engineer, whose job was ensuring that the cell phones his company made broke after a certain period. Angry disillusionment is compounded by sickness: his eyes become so sensitive to light that daylight exposure is painful, and constant torment drives him to thoughts of suicide. His posts on Facebook catch the attention of Feng, a college classmate who hiked with him on the Outing Club, and she decides to take emergency action.
This brave, forthright, and completely socially inept young woman infiltrates Ching-Yueh’s apartment, incapacitates him with a stun gun, and drives him into the mountains. If Ching-Yueh really wants to die, she says, let’s make a survival game out of it like we always said we would, and he can at least die well. He follows along with her, and the two begin their fight for survival in the wild–one depressed and passive, yet struggling to stay alive, the other energetic and active, yet persistently courting death.
Liu Dan-Chiu’s brilliantly eccentric characters shine with a rebellious energy that charges the novel with life and inspires a dark humor. The world as seen through Ching-Yueh’s tortured eyes explodes with contradiction and absurdity, and the drama of marginalization that plays out between him, Feng, and the world they try to abandon will feel painfully vivid. While the world of the narrative might feel most familiar to younger readers, the direct, hard-hitting prose will surely capture anyone’s attention.