Sunday, January 12, 2014

Short Stories: Watering Heaven by Peter Tieryas Liu

Publisher: Signal 8 Press
Date: October 2012
Format: paperback
Source: GoodReads First Look
Read: for review (disclaimer: I received my copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.)
Pages: 204

From GoodReads: What would you do if you found out your girlfriend laid an egg every time she had sex? Who would you be if you were invited to a party in Beijing but had to make up a brand-new identity for six weeks? Peter Tieryas Liu's Watering Heaven is a travelogue of and requiem for the American dream in all its bizarre manifestations and a surreal, fantastic journey through the streets, alleys, and airports of China. Whether it's a monk who uses acupuncture needles to help him fly or a city filled with rats about to be exterminated so that the mayor can win his reelection bid, be prepared to laugh, swoon, and shudder at the answers Peter Tieryas Liu offers in this provocative debut collection.

My review: So, again, I'm not a huge short story fan and often don't do well reviewing collections. I picked up Watering Heaven because the first story promised speculative fiction elements, though these proved far more pronounced in that story than in any others. Still, there were several that approached Pynchon-esque surrealism. I did not always catch the messages in each story, but I did catch the underlying theme throughout the collection of an existential dissatisfaction with modern life, the daily grind of going along with corporate business and the status quo. It will be interesting to pick this back up a few years down the road and see what I think of it when I'm a bit further into adulthood.

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