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China Cowboy

4.65  ·  Rating details ·  31 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
“Moving between the explicit descriptions of the Marquis de Sade and the implicit ironies of Nabokov, these pieces are excruciatingly compelling, so infernal as they are related in languages variously pornographic and desperately, radically tender. Short’s brilliant tragicomedy can be read as a metaphor for China’s dynamic with American culture or the story of any determin ...more
Paperback, First, 132 pages
Published June 2012 by Tarpaulin Sky Press
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Aug 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
China Cowboy is an indeterminate prose work that veers toward story telling. Non-linear in that it ricochets back & forth between 1989 (when the heroine/victim La La is 12), 1997 (when La La is either 20 or dead) & 2001 (when La La's story has become myth, at an exhibition at Soyabean Gallery, when La La herself is dead or alive). One could say that La La is both dead & alive throughout. The setting is America set in Hong Kong, that pulp town par excellence. That La La's parents supp ...more
Sarah Heady
Jul 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Check out my review here:
Feb 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Gross and gorgeous about sums up the Kansas City karaoke nightclub and TECHNICOLOR cinema that is Kim Gek Lin Short’s China Cowboy—all “gorge,” gore and zero pretty. Short’s work is often grossly disturbing and excruciatingly seductive, catching the reader in a tense push and pull with and against the text. Sticky and stuck among the fucking and fucked-up, Short binds us within tales of fierce femme survival as her main character, the feisty and fisty La La, avenges the repeated death of Hollywo ...more
May 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
KGLS is a writer like no other. Definitely one of the best books of 2012! Beautifully designed too. Tarpaulin Sky really raised the bar on this one. Simply a must have, as is, KGLS's The Bugging Watch.
Mar 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, bloody, sleepy, horrifying. A nightmare I would choose to have again.
Cayman R.
Jan 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
My third Kim G. L. Short book finished. Despite the psychological discomfort and vulnerability this book demands from it's readers, it was still quite successful in capturing my attention from the very first page. The entire story made me feel like I was Lala/Pet/Clone, Bill/Ren/William O'Rennessey, Lala's mother, etc. and that I was just as manipulative, passive, selfish, aggressive, dangerous, terrified, sneaky, in danger, furious, alive, and dead as the character's themselves. Short's ability ...more
Mike Young
Jul 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
from NOÖ [14]:

Read this on buses to and back from New York. It should’ve been raining cowboy spurs. This is the story of a country singer named La La kidnapped from her Hong Kong home by an American soybean artist named Ren. La La eats soapy lumps, her dad stabs typhoon-stranded tourists, her mom’s burnt head shows up in a Froot Loops box—I love them all. There are jam jars with pubic hairs in them, and Ren says we’re all made of slime and beans. Listen: the fried heartache of a country yodel bo
Oct 15, 2015 rated it did not like it
This book quite literally made my skin crawl. I have NEVER been so uncomfortable doing some require reading for class. Wish we could have gotten some major trigger warnings on this from my professor before reading it. I feel like if I took ten showers, I still wouldn't be cleansed from reading this god awful piece of garbage.
Sep 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
um, can we have a discussion about this book? as in, what was it that i just read?
Sep 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A wild ride and a visceral one. This book is extremely well wrought.
Timothy Volpert
Mar 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
yikes. so good. so awful.
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Kim Gek Lin Short is the author of the lyric novels The Bugging Watch & Other Exhibits and China Cowboy, both published by Tarpaulin Sky Press. She is also the author of the cross-genre chapbooks Run (Rope-a-Dope) and The Residents (dancing girl press).

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