* The Danish Girl meets Wong Kar-Wai’s Happy Together
* China Times Open Book Award
20th anniversary reprint of a classic work of Taiwanese queer bildungsroman fiction. Wu Jih-Wen tells a tale of family secrets and maturation that crosses oceans, lives, and presumed genders.
Sumi’s family is broken in many different ways. When he was still very young, his father took him from Taiwan to Japan, where he grew up at odds with both domestic society and his own parents. Meanwhile, Sumi’s family back in rural Taiwan has other shadow members: his eldest uncle, who vanished into the Malaysian jungle; his aunt, also an immigrant to Japan, and her twin brother. Their names and faces have been scrubbed from the history of this otherwise tight-knit clan.
Growing up in Japan is a tumultuous process for Sumi, especially as he discovers his attraction to men. His aunt, who runs a high-end nightclub in Tokyo, becomes a refuge from feelings of neglect and rebellion, and the two become fast friends. During Sumi’s last visit to the club before he returns to Taiwan, he is made privy to his aunt’s secret – her transgender identity. As she continues to move away from the family that rejected her, he returns, re-entering a society that nearly drives him to suicide.
This tale of fraught becoming, of rejection and acceptance, describes the journey of several marvelous figures in a time of equally tortured political change. Its relationship to memoir widely accepted, the authenticity of the novel’s first-person perspective rings true. It is being reprinted twenty years after first becoming a classic of Taiwanese queer fiction.