Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Review: SEX AND TAIPEI CITY by Yu-Han Chao

In “Strange Objects Museum,” customers can’t help but be drawn to an oddly-shaped saddle. It couldn’t hurt to take it for a ride, could it?

A surly flower girl learns more than she bargained for and that “marriage is no child’s play.”

A 15-year old recalls her “first time” at a musical auditorium hall. But did it come at a price?

And can “immersion” cause a sociological researcher to do something wrong, enticing, and…addicting?

“The man is always the filthy one, the corrupter, the one who breaks promises, ruins relationships, messes up his own life and the lives of those around him. I believe I carry out a form of justice.” (33)

“At this point women are a tiring presence in my life: three of them, all under my roof. The scariest one of them all? My mother-in-law.” (135)

This is not your typical love tales and rom-coms. Witty and remorsefully candid, stories reflect on the dark underbelly of love, sex, and relationships within the strict boundaries of Taiwanese culture. Each story brings lucid insight to the matter. I enjoyed the variety—stories with drama, secrets, fantasies, revenge, and blissful irony—as well as the cultural flavor. Chao is a natural story teller, infusing settings and characters with knowledge and reverence in this well-written collection.

My rating: 4 stars

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