by Peter Tieryas Liu
Summary: 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.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
This was a well written and thought provoking short story collection. It’s intelligent and strange, with wonderful descriptions and metaphors and revelations and I enjoyed reading it. My favorite story was the first one, Chronology of an Egg, perhaps because I didn’t quite know what to expect when I first opened the book.
“’Words should have gravity. If you can’t get arrested for a word, it probably isn’t worth using.’” –Chronology of an Egg
The reason I didn’t rate this collection of stories higher was because towards the middle of the book, I felt a lot of repetition and it was losing it’s charm. It became more predictable as the main character of each story meets up with a strange and fascinating woman. This type of fiction is something that appeals to me, but it’s also easy for me to dislike it. I liked the stories in this collection, but I felt it could have been a shorter collection or hold more surprises in order for me to rate it higher. This is definitely a personal thing for me and I’m always a little hesitant to take requests to read surreal fiction because it is harder for me to rate highly.
I would definitely recommend this short story collection, especially to those that like magical realism, surrealism, and/or strange, yet intelligent stories. It was well done and I would definitely read other works by the author.