Elsewhere: Stories

S. & S. Audio. Jul. 2023. 10:16 hrs. ISBN 9781797158853. $23.99. F
In short stories that span history and continents, Ge’s characters explore their place in the world. One character deals with politics in ancient China, while in another story a modern woman stalks the social media profiles of a possibly deceased acquaintance and begins to fall in love. Most of the stories are contemporary literary fiction written in English, which means a vastly different experience from that of Ge’s recently translated novel, the fantastical Strange Beasts of China. The collection is narrated by Ashley Xie and Chris Lew Kum Hoi. Xie performs stories told by women, which make up the bulk of the book. Each of the women is Chinese by birth, though their stories take place around the globe. Xie narrates with a Chinese accent, underscoring the women’s connection to their country of origin. Hoi’s narration contrasts with Xie’s, as he uses a British accent for the few stories told by men. Ge’s characters are often linked by a sense of displacement and frustrated yearning, which sometimes means that one story runs into the next, with only brief pauses in between. However, focused listeners will gain much from Ge’s ruminations on loss, language, and family.
VERDICT Ge’s gorgeous language flows with pain and frustration, perfect for fans of K-Ming Chang.
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