Author: Peter Tieryas Liu
Publisher: Signal 8 Press
Publish Date: October 12, 2012
Source: I received a copy from the author; however, this did not affect my review.
Why You're Reading This Book:
- You're a fiction fan.
- You like short stories.
- You love books that are off the beaten path.
- You're a fan of authors like Murakami.
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "What would you do if you found out your girlfriend laid an egg every time she had sex? Who would you be if you were invited to a party in Beijing but had to make up a brand-new identity for six weeks? Peter Tieryas Liu's Watering Heaven is a travelogue of and requiem for the American dream in all its bizarre manifestations and a surreal, fantastic journey through the streets, alleys, and airports of China. Whether it's a monk who uses acupuncture needles to help him fly or a city filled with rats about to be exterminated so that the mayor can win his reelection bid, be prepared to laugh, swoon, and shudder at the answers Liu offers in this provocative debut collection."
My Two Cents:
Short stories are usually not my genre of choice. There have been a couple books in 2012 that have changed my mind a little bit. "Watering Heaven" is most definitely among those ranks. You must read this book. If you like authors who know how to use magical realism to elicit really gorgeous stories, you must read this book. If you like authors like Borges or Murakami that make the unreal seem plausible and even real, you must read this book. If you are an armchair traveler, you must read this book. Here's what I'm trying to say to you, this book is going to appeal to a lot of people and I wholeheartedly suggest that you pick it up and take a look.
This book tells a lot of different stories about a lot of different people. Most of the stories are told from a gentleman's perspective. Some of the stories are from the first person point of view. Others are from the third person point of view. Many of the books have a magical realism element that I absolutely love. One of my favorite stories in the book is about a woman who lays an egg any time she has sex, which for obvious reasons perhaps, seems to drive her lovers away. I know this sounds like a really crazy scenario but the way that Liu writes, you almost find yourself wondering why this doesn't happen to more people. It's a real talent!
I also loved the traveling in this book. Many of the stories take place in California and China. I have not read a lot of stories set in China so those stories were especially interesting to me. You get a great sense of place in this book, which I absolutely love. You can see the cityscape. You can see the street corners and stores and building. You can see the different people that inhabit the world of these characters.
Bottom line: A great collection of vivid short stories!