My South Seas Sleeping Beauty: A Tale of Memory and Longing by Zhang Guixing, translated by Valerie Jaffee [in Bloomsbury Review]
Su Qi, a sensitive Chinese Malaysian youth, comes of age in the magical jungles of Borneo, shaped by the cruelty he witnesses at the hands of his abusive father and his loving but withdrawn mother. He is bewitched by the elusive daughter of his father’s best friend, but when she falls into a hopeless coma (yes, another sleeping beauty!) after a near fatal fall, Su Qi escapes to Taiwan, where he enters college and meets a vibrant fellow student singer with secrets of her own.
Zhang Guixing, a Chinese-Malaysian writer living in Taiwan, manages to create a novel as dense as the labyrinthine garden of Su Qi’s enigmatic mother, filled with ghosts and detached voices that refuse to be silenced.
Published: 2007 (United States)