* 2019 Openbook Award
Five interconnected novellas tell the stories of new gods, born out of the confluence and conflict of cultures, subcultures, ethnicities, and faiths that mingle in Taiwan’s unseen spaces.
Taiwan has long been a site of contact between wildly different peoples, missions, and beliefs. In New Gods, five interconnected novellas tell the stories of new deities and demons born out of the confluence and conflict of cultures, subcultures, ethnicities, and faiths that mingle in Taiwan’s unseen spaces.
If, as Ezra Pound once said, “a god is a permanent state of mind”, then these five tales are rituals for invoking a new spiritual consciousness. Elemental features of the natural landscape – fire, water, mountains, flora – seem to inhabit and inspire the characters amid their struggles. A young girl who lives amid fish tanks has an explosive encounter with a rebellious boy whose flesh has been mortified in Taoist rituals; a young hotel prostitute meets the “flower spirit” of her grandmother’s stories in the gaps between reality and memory; a tribal police officer and a priest team up to find indigenous children lost in the mountains after a windstorm.
These five novellas, which can be read independently or all together, bring us into the presence of danger and change personified, and the spirits they conjure are prepared to lead us in a new direction.