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$16.00  $14.88
Graywolf Press
Publish Date
5.4 X 8.2 X 0.6 inches | 0.65 pounds

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About the Author

Dorothy Tse is a Hong Kong writer who has received the Hong Kong Book Prize and Taiwan's Unitas New Fiction Writers' Award. She is the author of Snow and Shadow (translated by Nicky Harman) and cofounder of the literary journal Fleurs des Lettres.

Natascha Bruce translates fiction from Chinese. Her work includes novels and story collections by Yeng Pway Ngon, Patigül, Ho Sok Fong, and Can Xue. She lives in Amsterdam.

"Tse's prose curls around Q like a vine, dropping him in landscapes that are equal parts Bosch and Freud, lush and deranged. Imagine an after-hours cut of Disney's 'Fantasia'; Alexander Portnoy on acid; a Losing Your Virginity theme park brought to you by Mephistopheles. . . . His vision of freedom remains private and acquisitive, whereas Tse suggests that real freedom--political, imaginative, and erotic--does not subjugate others; real freedom is democratic, a public and collective project."--Katy Waldman, The New Yorker

"[Owlish] is the literary equivalent of a house of mirrors, refracting and distorting shards of Hong Kong's recent past. . . . A wildly inventive read."--Louisa Lim, The New York Times Book Review

"Though Ms. Tse alludes to a number of artistic influences . . . her writing most resembles that of Kazuo Ishiguro in its ability to render a strange allegorical fantasia in precise, formal prose. (The excellent translation from the Chinese is by Natascha Bruce.) But Owlish is sexier than Mr. Ishiguro's books, in rich and discomfiting ways--a 'folk tale, ' as Q imagines his reckless romance, 'full of lust and passion.'"--Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal

"There are books you read for knowledge, those you read for escape, those you read for enlightenment, those you read to be lost, those you read to be found, and then those you read again, and again. Owlish succeeds on all of these levels, with a reminder that perhaps the most powerful way to reject oppression is through imagination, and creation."--Mandana Chaffa, Chicago Review of Books

"Entrancing and otherworldly. . . . A protest fable that reveals many human truths, Tse's Owlish poses questions of desire and freedom under a punishing regime. The story lingers like a vivid dream bleeding into conscious life."--Kathleen Rooney, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

"A wonderfully imaginative fable that resonates with political critique and protest."--Kirkus Reviews

"Tse's vision is entirely original and wonderfully bizarre. The language of Natascha Bruce's elegant translation surprises and delights at every turn."--Andrew Ervin, The Brooklyn Rail

"Late capitalist malaise and political turmoil populate Nevers, the glittering, neoliberal city at the heart of Dorothy Tse's debut novel, Owlish. . . . Natascha Bruce was awarded a PEN/HEIM grant for her sparkling translation of this richly imagined, modern-day fairy tale."--Center for the Art of Translation

"[Owlish] feels alive, like it is still being written--which seems less strange when you consider that Hong Kong, in its own way, is too an unfinished manuscript, a fury of voices."--Xiao Yue Shan, Asymptote Journal

"A magical and potent tale for these tyrannical times."--NoViolet Bulawayo, author of Glory

"Dorothy Tse is a magnificent historian of unreal places. . . . Her parallel worlds and paradoxes brilliantly illuminate our own reality, with all its fictions masquerading as facts (and vice versa). Boundlessly creative, richly philosophical--I loved this book."--Joanna Kavenna, author of Zed

"Owlish is so delightfully creepy, wonderful and strange--I loved it."--Camilla Grudova, author of Children of Paradise

"A bold, brilliantly absorbing read. This clever, mercurial portrait of an alternate Hong Kong lingers long after the last page." --Irenosen Okojie, author of Nudibranch

"Beguilingly eerie, richly textured, the pages of Owlish are drenched in strange beauty and menace. Like all the best fairy tales, it reveals the dark truths that we would rather not look at directly, and does so with a surreal and singular clarity."--Sophie Mackintosh, author of Cursed Bread

"Tse's style in Owlish, with its magical elements, suggests a more overtly political Italo Calvino or Salman Rushdie with a lighter touch. . . . The story is engrossing and the prose, translated by the always satisfying Natascha Bruce, a delight."--Jessa Crispin, The Telegraph (UK)

"A fantastic if discomforting work of art. . . . This is no ordinary tale of male angst and frustrated desire. . . . Tse crafts a wondrous hinterland in her writing, imagining the waiting worlds we might dream ourselves into--if we try."--Annie Hayter, Big Issue (UK)

"Extraordinarily impressive. The word that comes to mind for both Dorothy Tse and Natascha Bruce is 'virtuosity.' . . . With its sureness of touch, its steely wit and its humor, Owlish is a most welcome addition to the bookshelves of translated novels. I hope it gets the recognition it certainly deserves."--Nicky Harman, Asian Books Blog