Author: An Yu
Published by: Grove Press on Apr. 14, 2020
Genres: General Fiction
Format: Paperback, ARC
Source: Publishers Group Canada
Book Rating: 7/10
One morning in autumn, Jia Jia walks into the bathroom of her Beijing apartment to find her husband – with whom she had been breakfasting barely an hour before – dead in the bathtub. Next to him a piece of paper unfolds like the wings of a butterfly, and on it is an image that Jia Jia can’t forget.
Profoundly troubled by what she has seen, even while she is abruptly released from a marriage that had constrained her, Jia Jia embarks on a journey to discover the truth of the sketch. Starting at her neighbourhood bar, with its brandy and vinyl, and fuelled by anger, bewilderment, curiosity and love, Jia Jia travels deep into her past in order to arrive at her future.
Braised Pork is a cinematic, often dreamlike evocation of nocturnal Beijing and the high plains of Tibet, and an exploration of myth-making, loss, and a world beyond words, which ultimately sees a young woman find a new and deeper sense of herself.
Unique, mesmerizing, and reflective!
Braised Pork is a short but mystifyingly lush tale about a young, vulnerable widow, Jia Jia whose life is irrevocably changed, upheaved, and somewhat freed when her husband suddenly dies and leaves behind a sketch of a “fish-man” figure.
The prose is elegant and expressive. The imagery is gritty and vivid. And the plot is a spiritual journey into the true meaning and importance of life, love, and death.
Braised Pork as a whole is a beautifully crafted tale that is perplexing, immersive, melancholic, and pensive, and yet when I finished the final page I was, unfortunately, left feeling a little flat and unfulfilled.
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Thank you to PGC Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.