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The Kite Family

2.88  ·  Rating details ·  25 ratings  ·  14 reviews
A patient escapes from an asylum, to spend his life as the perfect mannequin in a department store display; when living alone is outlawed, a woman who resides quietly with her cat is assigned by bureaucrats to a role in an artificially created "family;" a luckless man transforms himself into a chair so people can, literally, sit on him. These are just a few of the inhabita ...more
Paperback, 236 pages
Published November 23rd 2015 by Hong Kong University Press (first published September 1st 2015)
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Not for me.

I like Franz Kafka's well-known The Metamorphosis, which I've described as the Granddaddy of Weird, and I think these stories seem intended to inhabit that space.

I also like short stories, including quirky ones, preferring a tight, well-written short story to an (often unnecessarily) wordy work. The introduction by the translator is interesting, attempting to explain some stories, and the translation seems to be smooth. I liked the writing style, and I liked the ideas--I just didn’t
Andrea Lingenfelter, the translator of The Kite Family by Hon Lai Chu, gives us a captivating introduction why these stories are an important part of Hong Kong's literary fiction, as issues such as humanity, migration, xenophobia, family dysfunction, and deformity are presented. Compared against mainland China's fiction, which mostly focuses on China's particular themes and settings, HK fiction never had any restrictions. Her enthusiasm for this translation project made me look forward to delve ...more
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
Apr 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: well, you, if you wanna scratch your head a lot
Man, do we have some deep literary shit here. Been reading this since September, and was it a tough cookie. Parts sparked my interest, and then... the stories would get so mixed up I wouldn't know what to make of them.

When I stumble upon books like that, I always wonder - is it me? Or..?

However, I'm not going to judge. Maybe it's just not for me. And I have to admit, as crazy and all over the place the stories are, they do paint quite strong impressions of the world the author wants to show u
Jan 25, 2016 rated it liked it
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

To be precise, my rating would need to be an 2,5 out of 5, but since I am leaning a bit towards the positive rather than being completely undecided, I will leave it at 3/5.

Short stories are difficult. I still have memories of school, having to interpret them and find the "right" solution. It was only later in life that I learned to read them for fun. Unfortunately, this collection by Hon Lai Chu reminded me a lot of t
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviews
I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Oh goodness. I had such high hopes for this book. Unfortunately this was not the book for me. I am sure that the work was translated accurately- however the style of writing was not what I was accustomed to and I found it to be confusing. The book is described as being prose- so I never expected it to be literal or straightforward. Though I was prepared for this collection of short stories to be different from wh
Bill Hsu
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: chinese-lang
In her introduction, translator Andrea Lingenfelter mentioned Hon's "spare, elegant prose". Then in the title story,
But the sound of drilling merged into and became one with my ears, and my tears and anger hardened like dried cement into a wall that only the most physically fit could hope to climb.

I probably have a different notion of "spare and elegant", or there were challenges in the translation that I'm not aware of. I'll try to hunt down a copy of the original to check out that sentence.

Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
Can't say I entirely enjoyed it. The writing was good and unique but I gave up reading some stories because it was too bizarre to understand ...more
Eustacia Tan
Mar 31, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley
I had really, really high expectations for this book. I mean, true, I'm not very well-informed on Hong Kong's literary scene (all I know is about Lee Bo), but I have grown up watching Hong Kong dramas. So I figured that I should enjoy this book.

Unfortunately, my expectations were certainly set too high.

The introduction sounded really good, and made me really excited. But the stories... were confusing. It wasn't that they were surreal - I can deal with surreal, it's that I couldn't find a plot. L
Jan 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
A collection of six short stories set in Hong Kong (or China). They're hard to review since they're full of metaphors and symbolism; they're also quite different, tackling different issues.

Now, they're not an easy, fun read - like the novels we read to relax or forget about our day. They're thought-provoking, and they make you question what the author really wanted to portray.

I'll say my own interpretation of the stories. I hope I got it right.

Spoiled Brains - tackles immigration and how peopl
Stephanie Jane
I received a copy of The Kite Family by Hon Lai-Chu from its publishers, East Slope Publishing Ltd, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.

I don't think that I have read any Hong Kong fiction before so I was interested to try this highly praised short story collection by Hon Lai-Chu. The book consists of six stories including an award-winning novella which gives the collection its name, The Kite Family. Unfortunately, I struggled to understand what the author was trying to say in most o
Amanda Rogozinski
Feb 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: unfinished, 2016
The introduction to this collection of short stories, translated from Chinese, is fascinating. Andrea Lingenfeiter explains the political situation for writers in China and gives succinct explanations for the stories that provide a lot of clarity. The Kite Family is a voice aimed to shock capitalistic society out of its absurdity in treating human beings like they are a commodity. The images in this collection are quite striking--an obesity problem so uncontrollable that a woman cannot be physic ...more
Maria Beltrami
Feb 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Belli questi racconti, ma di una bellezza forse un po' troppo aliena. Scenari di tipo occidentale, ma storie che funzionano solo se calate in una realtà orientale, con personaggi che hanno desideri, modi di vedere la vita e psicosi lontani dai nostri. Lettura difficile, interessante, capace di dare una migliore comprensione di un mondo lontano dal nostro, ma faticosa e non entusiasmante.
Ottima traduzione, che non cerca di addomesticare l'alienità.
Ringrazio East Slope Publishing Limited e Netgall
Mar 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Strange and mesmerizing stories that range from the slightly grotesque (Spolied Brains), to the delicate, ethereal title story, The Kite Family. These may not suit all readers, but I found myself transported by the very personal, bizarre vision at work in the author's writing. For me, this was most effectively done in the stories 'Heartbreak Hotel' and 'Notes on a Epidemic'. These to stories directly tap into their respective main characters' sense of loneliness and loss. Each story took awhile ...more
Apr 23, 2016 rated it it was ok
Try hard as I may, I absolutely did not get this book, the essence was completely lost on me. What I had been reading in this book was so bizarre and unfamiliar that I gave up half way and moved on to read other books. But I never like leaving a book unfinished, so I tried picking it up a few months later and just speed read through it.

I guess this book really was "lost in translation".

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my opinion.
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