I first spotted Yan Ge‘s new novel on NetGalley — I’ll admit, it was the cover that caught my attention. Strange Beasts of China has an intriguing premise, as well, and I’m really looking forward to reading it. First published in 2006 as 异兽志, it’s finally getting an English-language edition. Here’s the synopsis:
A disquieting bestiary that blurs the line between human and beast from one of most exciting voices in contemporary Chinese literature
In the fictional Chinese town of Yong’an, monsters and spirits live, almost indistinguishable, alongside humans. Strange Beasts of China follows the narrator, an amateur cryptozoologist, as she attempts to document each type of beast with the help of her former professor and his enigmatic assistant. From the Sacrificial Beasts, who can’t stop dying, to the Heartsick Beasts, who are genetically engineered to be as loyal and loving as possible, each chapter introduces a new beast and dives deeper into a mystery that threatens the narrator’s very sense of self.
In prose that is both whimsical and daring, Yan Ge guides the reader through the underbelly of a chillingly uncanny world and questions what it really means to be human.
Strange Beasts of China is due to be published by Melville House in North America (July 2021), and is published in the UK by Tilted Axis Press (out now).