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UFO in Her Eyes

3.29 of 5 stars 3.29  ·  rating details  ·  241 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Silver Hill Village, 2012. On the twentieth day of the seventh moon Kwok Yun is making her way across the rice fields on her Flying Pigeon bicycle. Her world is turned upside down when she sights a UFThing - a spinning plate in the sky - and helps the Westerner in distress whom she discovers in the shadow of the alien craft. It's not long before the village is crawling wit ...more
Hardcover, 200 pages
Published March 1st 2009 by Chatto & Windus (first published February 5th 2009)
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MJ Nicholls
The ‘documents’ novel, or the ‘found documents’ novel, is the most popular way to escape the Barthesian author v. scriptor dilemma. To sever all claims to the book being formally authored by the dude whose name is on the cover, to turn the ‘author’ into ‘editor’ to remove all traces of their presence from the manuscript and relegate them to scissors-and-paste men (or women) so all their biographical cultural educational historical baggage has no chance to infect the reader’s brain with a single ...more
Celine
Okay, can we just stop and consider that beautifully wrong title? I know it's probably supposed to signify that it's an "UFO" but only the way she sees it. But wouldn't it be way more fun if it was meant to be like BAM UFO IN YOUR FACE. A girl can dream.

UFO in Her Eyes is more a collection of documents and interviews rather than a narrated novel. This means there are only about two or three small chapters with actual running text, and the others are interview transcripts. Despite this rather abr
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Adam
It took me forever to get my hands on this, because it's not available in Canada yet.

UFO In Her Eyes is an interesting satirical piece about expansionist China and its rapid "modernization". The caricatures are often ridiculous, yet endearing and it's a VERY fast read. I finished in about 4 hours (and that was while doing other things).

While not my favourite novel by Guo, I feel that a large number of reviews on Goodreads missed the point. It is certainly not the first novel to address these iss
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Jillian
Kwok Yun sees a UFO and finds an American lying in a field. Government agents arrive in her village, Silver Hills, to conduct interviews. The novel unfolds through the villagers, who speak in various dialects, and who are funny, charming, obscene, nostalgic. The interviews are brief. I could imagine this translating to an e-reader: right click for more information about the Cultural Revolution, left click for a photo of Carp Li's pond. But surveillance is at the heart of this novel. By the end, ...more
Charlotte Jones
The idea and the title of this book drew me in straight away and I have to say that the format of the novel made for a really quick and interesting read. The story is told through interviews conducted by police officers and they interview the villagers of Silver Hill throughout the events that take place. The pages themselves are printed to look like they have been taken from a binder and there are even images of additional information that has been attached with paper-clips to the pages. I real ...more
Gabby
This was given to me so I had no knowledge of the author. At first the book's design and layout made me think I was reading a pirated copy... then I started reading.

This book has made me completely rethink my understanding of modern Chinese literature. I have come to expect elegant, wistful and romantic prose with wry humour if included at all. This turned all of this on its head: bawdy, rough and dark, bleakly hilarious but full of insights that I would not expect a younger generation, urban-ra
...more
Mona
When I got this book, I mistakenly thought it would have something to do with UFO.

The story describes a small poor village with illiterate villagers and the rapid modernization once funding came through . Modern world symbolized by America.

One passage struck me funny and so true...the village now on its way to being all modern are planning to dig a pool in one of the villager's land...

"somebody asked 'do you know anyone here who can swim?' everyone pondered this question , but they couldn't th
...more
Aruna Kumar Gadepalli
An interesting book. revolves around the an issue may be trivial will lead to the changes in the whole system. It all starts with the watching of UFO in the fields of Silver Hill a village in the remote area of China. The National Security and the Intelligence wings conduct interviews to find out the incident lasts for more that three years and with the result there comes the development aspect and how entire village once a remote one comes to the center of attraction and the result of the same. ...more
John Defrog
Satire from novelist/filmmaker Guo about a Chinese peasant named Kwok Yun whose life and small Chinese village of Silver Hill is changed forever after she sees a UFO in a rice field and rescues an American backpacker who was bitten by a poisonous snake. The novel is written in the form of documents and interviews with various villagers conducted by government agents investigating the UFO sighting. Readers expecting a story about actual aliens will be disappointed, since the story focuses more on ...more
Gerund
Chinese novelist Xiaolu Guo’s sensitive English-language debut, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary For Lovers (2007), dealt with a young Chinese woman’s experience in England as an “alien” (one of the first words she learns there).

Though the title of her follow-up, UFO In Her Eyes, would seem to promise actual aliens of the extra-terrestrial kind, in the end it turns out to be a tale of how people and societies are changed by forces beyond their control.

This is a pity, as any given science fi
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David Hebblethwaite
Silver Hill was an unremarkable village in Hunan, long since neglected by the Chinese government; until a peasant woman named Kwok Yun saw a ‘flying metal plate’ in the sky. The National Security and Intelligence Agency soon sends men to investigate; the results of this are chronicled in the documents which comprise the text of UFO in Her Eyes, as are the changes through which Silver Hill went in subsequent years. Shortly after seeing the UFO, Yun found and helped an injured Westerner – which in ...more
John
I was interested in finding out if there was any modern Chinese satire translated or written in English. Thanks to good old Google, I stumbled upon mention of a recent book of that sort. 'UFO in Her Eyes' by Xiaolu Guo, was the book, and after reading it I'm here to say that there is Chinese satire, and if the rest is anything like this thin little book, it's pretty darned good!

The premise of the book (which I understand is also now a movie) seemed just what I was looking for: A middle aged old
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Esther
This an amusing but not terribly original tale told through a series of interviews conducted by government officials.
When Kwok Yun sees her UFO she also ends up saving an American tourist bitten by a snake. This brings the village to the attention of the government bureaucracy and when the tourist donates some money in gratitude the government decide it is time for them to invest in 'modernizing' the village of Sliver Hill.
Predictably this does not bring much joy to several of the villagers and
...more
Kay
I picked this book up at the Terracotta Film festival so that I could have the Author sign it for me and, after listening to her masterclass on her work got a lot more out of the book (which is now a film).
Laid out like the file of an investigation, follows the 'modernisation' of a traditional Chinese village called Silver Hill after one of the villagers sees a UFO in the rice fields. Its a satirical piece, one that mirrors the changes through China in a microcosm, from the generated tourism to
...more
Nicola Muzsla
Set againt the backdrop of a UFO sighting, this book has a darker, more meaningful undertone that offers an eye-opening insight into life in rural china and the effects of modernization on small villages. Written as a series of interviews and Government documents, this book also suggests the under-lying secrecy, yet brutal involvement of the Government in such matters. Technically a science-fiction and set in the very near future, yet you can make comparisons to life today. A good book that cert ...more
Vincent Eaton
I was hoping of a pleasant zip of a novel, as it's layout and design promised something oddly different. Alas it followed the well-worn path of numerous books and films of the small village getting excessive attention from the outside world due to something one person did, and then the corruption of the outside world and the bitterness of the inhabitants take over, with some political hustle along the way. And did not bring a single insight to an old story line. Suppose setting it in China bring ...more
Molly
I bought this book on a trip to China. It's a quick, enjoyable read. Perfect for the plane ride home.
shirley
I enjoyed two of Guo's other books, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers, and Twenty Fragments of a Ravenous Youth: A Novel, even if the former I did not rate too highly, this one however just did not do it.

Presented as a case file for a UFO sighting and told through transcripts of interviews with the locals it deals with the subsequent change and modernisation of the village rather then UFOs. Although a there is a story running through these interviews it wasn't enough for me and I w
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Sharon
It's not science fiction despite the title. It's a commentary on China.
Ian Young
Somewhat dissapointing book from a fine writer. On the surface, an official investigation of the aftermath of a UFO sighting in a small Chinese village, and the subsequent events. The book is written as a series of brief official investigative reports. The main theme is the effect of modernisation on traditional Chinese life and values, and the clash between Western and Chinese culture. The way the book is written means that it is difficult to care for any of the characters, and for me this is a ...more
Paul Heikkila
"And look at me now: first, I lose my land to a swimming pool, and now, not only does my granddaughter marry that teacher, but suddenly she has to go and work in the city. Which Bitch Bastard city office needs her, I ask you?"

A UFO sighting brings government investigators, and change comes to Silver Hill Village -- for better. And for worse. Short, novel, told through interviews with government officials. Xiaolu Guo was born in China, studied film in Beijing, lives in London.
Oanh
Not as engaging as Concise Dictionary, which I devoured in a sitting. This took me a while to get into and I only finished it because I needed to return it to the library and had already renewed it three times.

Xiaoluo Guo is certainly very original in her story telling style, and I enjoyed the format, though I found it too easy to step away from.

The story itself is sweet, poignant and blackly funny. Very understated.
Deanne
Maybe it's the style of book I don't like, there's no details just a series of interviews of people in the village. Recently read another book with the same style and gave that 2 stars. I like to have more detail, characters who are more than two dimensional, I like knowing what the characters are thinking or plotting. This style strikes me as lazy and leaves me wondering how long it took to write and how much effort it took.
Isa
A fun, easy read with, very much between the lines, a bit of sadness, bitterness, anger about the importance laid on (economic) Progress. Also a love story happens.
Mostly everything is told very subtly indirectly, which still works very nicely; the real stories develop in the background, just slightly out of focus - which is a very interesting narration technique (though not new).
Huw
May 26, 2009 Huw added it
Shelves: fiction
This is a good little book. A very quick read (finished in a day). It tells a story of modern China through what happens to a small village after one of the people there sees a UFO. It's told via transcripts of interviews and copies of statements etc. Everything tells the story here, people's names, what is censored and even where people live. Good.
Juliet
18/06 - A bit hesitant on reading another novel from Guo after the the disappointment of 20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth.

10/07 - I didn't really bother finishing this as it was rather pointless and bland. And everytime I read Bitch Bastard which was Guo probably thought was a clever little saying, I just wanted to throw the book far far away.
Santo
A good book, but not fantastic... But it does capture a bit of the way lives have been changed in the new China that's emerging today... Some of the things in the book reminded me of the time when I passed by a corner in Chaoyang District and said "when the f@&* did that building go up...?!"
Ms_prue
I like that Guo uses unusual ways to tell her stories, like interviews and letters. It makes it look like history, laid out like a set of primary sources documenting a particular time and place.
It's a sad story.
Stone
was really looking forward to this as guo's previous books have been so great. only at the end can you see a little character and story, interesting experimentation with the storytelling but not great execution
Stas
Feb 12, 2009 Stas marked it as to-read
because she wrote a nice thing about Boris Vian.
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Xiaolu Guo (Simplified Chinese: 郭小櫓 pinyin:guō xiǎo lǔ, born 1973) is a Chinese novelist and filmmaker. She utilizes various media, including film and writing, to tell stories of alienation, introspection and tragedy, and to explore China's past, present and future in an increasingly connected world.

Her novel A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary For Lovers was nominated for the 2007 Orange Prize f
...more
More about Xiaolu Guo...
A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers Twenty Fragments of a Ravenous Youth Village of Stone Lovers in the Age of Indifference I Am China: A Novel

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