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.
Have I ever told you that I love short story collections? Well, I do. In fact, I sometimes prefer them to novels. When I was approached by the author for a possible review of Watering Heaven, I knew right away that I wanted to read it. I am very happy to report that it did not disappoint.
Watering Heaven is a fantastic collection of stories all with a connection to Asia. Whether they were realistic or more on the magical side of things, they all demanded my attention. I was immediately sucked in by the story of a woman who lays an egg every time she has sex. Very strange! This story might have stayed with me the most throughout the entire collection. I wouldn't be against reading an entire novel based around this woman and her "curse" because it such an original and odd idea.
Another story that really grabbed my attention was Resistance, the story of a man trying to help his friend get out of a pretty serious situation. This story starts out with one of the best opening lines I have ever come across:
"I’m inside an abandoned shopping mall and a hooker’s chasing me with a kitchen knife. It’s 6 a.m. Goddamn Martin for getting me into this shit."
How could you even consider turning away from a line like that? I definitely couldn't. Each story has its own pull that sucks you in deep and plays with your emotions. Each character is dealing with something incredibly personal, whether it be love, loss or just trying to figure out what the meaning of their life is.
Not only are the stories original and emotionally raw, but they are written so beautifully. You have no choice but to connect with each character and envision yourself in their situation. Liu has done an exceptional job bringing each of them to life with all of their imperfections for our viewing.
If you are a lover of short stories like me or are looking for a deeper, yet shorter read. I highly recommend you pick up Watering Heaven. This is one collection that is going to stay with you long after you have turned the last page.
For more about Peter Tieryas Liu and Watering Heaven, check out his website here.
Be sure to stop by tomorrow for a guest post from the author!