Notes of a desolate man by Chu T’ien-Wen


Book set in Taipei, Taiwan. Reread on 2020/07:

Reviewed on 2019/02:

It’s impossible to read #notesofadesolateman without thinking about #chutienwen ‘s compatriot #qiumiaojin and her #notesofacrocodile . They both seem to share a private conversation on her notes on our lives as #crocodiles , her lives as crocodiles themselves, the crocodiles’ lives which ultimately define us against our own will. Chu’s narrator, #xiaoshao is a secluded and erudite #gayman living in the margins of #taiwanesesociety mainly because of his sexual orientation. I think this same ostracism has allowed him to see people in their true selves and he wants no part on it. He also reminds me of #dostoyevsky and his own crocodile story and his notes, those from the underground. Xiao Shao lives indeed in an underground relegated to sporadic moments of happiness and sheer luck. Shouldn’t he feel blessed? After all aren’t #gaymen only worthy of whatever they can get? It can always get worse and it indeed is so much worse for others. So shouldn’t he be grateful for his own survival? How dare he challenge and complicate both the gay community’s activism and the collective silence and apathy of straight people including his close friends and family? These questions and meanderings are painstakingly exposed in this visceral and poignant book. I obviously #highlyrecommend it, including taking breaks and remember not to despair too much. Perhaps his writing will save him at the end. #taipei #taiwaneseliterature#howardgoldblatt #columbiauniversitypress#AIDS #荒人手記 #朱天文 #臺北市#highlyrecommended

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