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Love in the New Millennium

3.19  ·  Rating details ·  103 ratings  ·  32 reviews
The most ambitious work of fiction by a writer widely considered the most important novelist working in China today

In this darkly comic novel, a group of women inhabits a world of constant surveillance, where informants lurk in the flower beds and false reports fly. Conspiracies abound in a community that normalizes paranoia and suspicion. Some try to flee—whether to a
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published November 20th 2018 by Yale University Press (first published June 1st 2013)
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Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mbi-2019
A surreal challenge of a book, Can Xue’s Love in the New Millennium, translated from the Chinese by Annelise Finegan Wasmoen, kept me entranced much longer than an average novel. The book is only 264 pages long (in Yale University Press’ edition that’s simply gorgeous) but I often couldn’t read more than 20–30 pages a day because if you miss a sentence, you might have no idea where you are anymore.

Had I been too busy lately, had I slept badly et cetera, this could have been a 2-star read, but
Paul Fulcher
‘I - I’m confused...’

‘Correct, young man! Very good feedback. You respect my work!’

The Last Lover, translated by Annelise Finegan Wasmoen from the original by Can Xue (残雪;) won the US Best Translated Book Award for 2015, as well as being longlisted for the 2015 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.

Love in the New Millennium, from the same translator/author pair, has now been longlisted for the 2019 Man Booker International, the successor to the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.

I appreciated The
May 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-mbi, 2019
”How is that possible?”
“Things are always this way. Aren’t you getting used to it?”

Some time ago, I watched the third season of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. I mention this because that TV series and this book left me with the same bewildered feeling. I have to say that I rather like the sense of confusion and incomprehension, although I can imagine many readers would be infuriated by it.

I almost didn’t read this book. I read some excerpts from interviews with the author and they both attracted me
Abbie | ab_reads
Apr 12, 2019 rated it did not like it
Totally skimmed the last part, I’m just not a fan of books where the purpose seems to be to not get it!
This book is published in English as Love in the New Millennium, but evidently its original Chinese title could be more accurately translated as New Millennium Love Stories. It’s a subtle difference, but I prefer the Chinese title. After all, this book doesn’t make any kind of comprehensive statement about modern-day love. Instead, it’s a collection of loosely linked, frequently baffling stories. The cover copy of the U.S. edition doesn’t fully convey the level of weird magical realism in this ...more
There is something about Love in the New Millennium that I was not able to connect with. Out of the entire Man Booker International longlisted books for 2019, this is the one that I struggled the most with. It was not because of the unlikeable characters or toxic relationships, there was just something that did not work. I spent a lot of time wondering if I felt disconnected from the cultural aspects of this novel, but I have come to the conclusion that me and Can Xue do not agree, or at least ...more
Sidharth Vardhan
Nov 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: review
It’s a surrealistic plotless story about love and loneliness, full of dreams, magic realism, bizarre dialogues/situations, ghosts, told through more or less connected, but deeply lonely, characters, which are in constant search for love, exploration of their roots and meaning of the life. I didn’t like it... it’s just too much experimental (to the point of senseless) for me. The only positive thing that I can say is - some passages are humorous.
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: _kärtchen
I don’t understand it but it somehow makes so much sense.

I love Can Xue’s writing very much.
It is comforting to me.
Esther King
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
A little bit of a bizarre novel with some jumps around, this one requires your full attention to ensure that you’re picking up on every nuance. It’s the sort of book that isn’t designed to follow a rudimentary plot form, and it just follows the characters like a camera around them. The blurb on my copy was somewhat deceptive as I went in anticipating a totalitarian state, but instead I found a study of love in a ‘Gone With The Wind’-esque approach. There’s a lot to think about within it, but it’ ...more
This was the 4th of the 13 books on the 2019 MCI longlist that I started and the first I did not finish. It is the first book I've abandoned in a couple of years. I read about 20% of the book and made the decision to abandon it. I did not like the prose. I did not like the characters. I did not like the story (there was none). This book (and the other book by the author that I did read it its entirety - Frontier) are like abstract paintings by Jackson Pollock -- words dribbled on a page. I find ...more
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
I couldn't finish it. One of those books you feel must get a prize due to the difficulty of getting through it. I'd nominate the translator for some sort of prize, too. Feels very "other", which perhaps means it does capture contemporary China well? I hated every character though.
Apr 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Review to follow
This can best be described as a soap opera with a big cast of characters that are encountered time and again, moving backward and forward through time. Tells the story of Cuilan and Wei Bo's relationship.
Alison Wong
Oct 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Having been raised on an European canon, I have always found Chinese literature difficult to access. Reading ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’, 20 years ago, for example, flummoxed me to the point where, if I’m being honest, I only really read and ‘understood’ about a third of the novel. However, like with everything, exposure and experience are patient teachers. The more Chinese literature, history and philosophy I read, the more Chinese movies I watch, the better understanding I have of a culture I ...more
Emannuel K.
Mar 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: contemporary
Essa foi uma leitura bem estranha. O livro é um romance, mas que conta com uma grande variedade de vozes. Começamos acompanhando uma personagem (Cuilan), e aí partimos para seu amante (Wei Bo), e a esposa e antiga amante dele, além de mais alguns outros personagens de ponto de vista. Mas a narrativa toma tons muito surreais. Não tem nada em comum com o realismo mágico, mas sim uma espécie de lógica de sonho que toma conta das histórias. Uma coisa que vai começando a ficar óbvia conforme vamos ...more
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
I appreciate the words of the reviewer who said this would have been a two-star book for them, but they were in a good state of mind to really focus on it, so it was a five-star. I couldn’t get the required focus and had to bail. I see all the reasons I should love this book but maybe it was just because I read it on an ebook loan on my phone while I was in the middle of moving that I couldn’t connect with it despite trying for three months. The surreal and magical realist moments are extremely ...more
Apr 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Longlisted for the 2019 Best Translated Book Award, this book is by the same Chinese author, Can Xue, whose novel “The Last Lover” won this award in 2015. Both books affected me in the same way - though I really didn’t understand much of what I was reading, the characters and plot (such as it was) remained in my mind.

I fortunately just found an excellent review of LOVE—-
Which helped me immensely to comprehend how the combined use of fantasy, dark humour
Mina Widding
Dec 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Well that was a ride...
Surrealistisk berättelse, utan tydlig handling. Istället möter vi karaktärer, och en värld som svävar mellan dimensioner, med en helt annan logik, en drömlogik, om man alls ska prata om logik. Återkommande teman är the cotton mill, the free port, Lady of the chamellias, the hot springs, fängelset och hemstäderna, som i sig bär på magiska egenskaper. Rätt obeskrivbar, men en uppsjö av galenskap, intressanta, vackra bilder och tankesprång.
Tänker att titeln är en flirt med
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Amazing!!!! My first encounter with Can Xue’s writing and I want more! An unforgettable book, so many scenes come to mind as I think about it at this moment. There were moments that felt as though they came straight from a David Lynch movie; other times when the action was more concrete, but always an air of existing in another realty. As a Westerner I know I am only skimming the depths of this work but found it so compelling, funny, horrifying, empathetic, and in the end filled with a ...more
I can't rate this book because I don't understand it well enough to make a judgment. My Western brain was fascinated but very confused the whole way through. I am glad to be finished as it has infiltrated my mind in strange ways, causing unsettling dreams and making it hard to return to reality. Be careful before deciding to pick this one up if you are as easily affected by books as I seem to be.
Aug 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
The short story seems a more congenial mode for Can Xue, given her "oneiric" tendencies. Where her short stories can feel like a single dream, her novels occasionally feel like a long and feverish night of dreams, one after the other, without respite. The effect is often more wearying than anything. Still, I much prefer being wearied by Can Xue than bored by, say, Franzen.
Silvia Cojocaru
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
It is a very strange book, hard to read and hard to understand and empathize with the characters. I'm not familiar with Chineze literature, modern or otherwise. I can't say I enjoyed it. I did take it as thinking and language exercise of some sort.
Mar 30, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: mbi2019, read-in-2019
VERDICT: The weirdest book ever, with messed up characters and relationships

My experience as a member of the Shadow Panel for the Man Booker International 2019 turns out to be an experience in extremes. I recently reviewed The Years, definitely the best book I have read so far in 2019 and one of the best books I have EVER read. I will soon present the most awful book I have ever read. And today, Love in the New Millennium is the most bizarre one!

My full review is here:
Mills College Library
Fiction C2335L 2018
B. Cheng
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: asia, china, library
Incredibly boring book with nothing going on, can't believe I bothered reading it to the end...
George Pollard
Didn’t actually finish this entirely; found it very hard going.
May 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Reads like a fever dream. Always surreal, some sections were utterly engrossing, others jarring and opaque. Feel free to borrow my copy; it is a beautifully bound book.
Completing this book really tested my resolve. It seemed to me to be little more than a succession of ludicrous events. One far fetched situation followed by another. There were, however, some charming and amusing little stories here and there - it just was hard to find them when you felt so confused about what was happening.
Jul 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Love this so much I’m starting it over again 10 hours after finishing it. Delightful. I’m absolutely clueless about what was going on but I adored every minute.
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The Mookse and th...: 2019 MBI Longlist: Love in the New Millennium 40 90 Jun 20, 2019 04:40AM  

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Can Xue (Chinese: 残雪; pinyin: Cán Xuĕ), née Deng Xiaohua (Chinese: 邓小华), is a Chinese avant-garde fiction writer, literary critic, and tailor. She was born May 30, 1953 in Changsha, Hunan, China. Her family was severely persecuted following her father being labeled an ultra-rightist in the Anti-rightist Movement of 1957. Her writing, which consists mostly of short fiction, breaks with the realism ...more