Lovers in the Age of Indifference -Xiaolu Guo
short stories, in translation
The lovers in the age of indifference are tough romantics from every corner of the planet: a marriage splinters during a game of mah jong; a depressed fiancée is lifted by a mid-air encounter with a Hollywood legend; a mountain keeper watches over a lonely temple but is perturbed when, finally, a visitor dares to arrive.
Reading this made me realize that up to now everything I've read set in China (aside from politics) has been in historical settings. This book is squarely set in the modern world. Full of displacement, alienation and not much love except for yearning for it. The characters are from all over China and the stories are short but concise. They draw you into a situation but never long enough for there to be why. Why was she cheating? How could she just stop texting? Who were those letters from? And it all mangificantly, serves to show how indifference and love coexist.
I also appreciated the photos that bookend the text: the first of a village/town, the second of a city.
I enjoyed this but I can imagine those who are looking for more meat to their stories would find these frustrating as they are more fables than stories. They are loaded with symbolism and chock full of ideas.
I probably wouldn't have written this review had I not read this for GWC as I often felt like it was opaque for me.h