New Chinese writing: A Yi

APerfectCrimeAYiAt Read Paper Republic, you can find a new Chinese writing every week for a year.

The editors want to introduce Chinese short stories, essays and poems for free, to people who don’t know where to start. And they start us off with a bang.

Who’s speaking please, translated by Michelle Deeter, is a short story indeed, but after little more than 500 words, you feel like you know the protagonist, have formed an opinion of his lover, and HAVE to know what happens next. Except it’s already the end…

The author is A Yi, a former police officer who used his insider view for his first novel in English. A Perfect Crime in Anna Holmwood’s translation came out last month and has already won an English PEN award. You can preview it on the Foyles bookshop website. The same dramatic tension draws you in right in from the first few lines. You can read more of A Yi’s work at Granta, including one piece that will resonate with Londoners and others, in After the Olympics Left: “Ever since we hosted the Olympics, the sky has often turned very blue and even today it’s still very blue, whereas before the Olympics, leaving the house was sometimes akin to taking a swim in a melancholy ocean of grey.”

Acute perception and thrilling tension – I’d like to read more writers like this.

Luckily, starting tomorrow, there are 51 more to come.

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