Little Hut of Leaping Fishes by Chiew-Siah Tei

Little Hut of Leaping Fishes

Chiew-Siah Tei

I quickly got used to the unusual, staccato prose as I became immersed in the life of Mingzhi. Bound from birth by filial responsibilities, he silently shies away from his Opium-growing grandfather, hoping that his education will offer an escape to a different world. This coming of age family saga brings to life late 19th century China, where new and frightening Western influences clash violently with centuries of tradition, ritual and expectation.

Extract

Red. Candles, curtain, sheets and covers. Cut-outs of Xi, Double Happiness, on the wall, the windows. The bright, dazzling colour of a wedding.
Mingzhi stands gazing at the figure by his bedside. Red veil, red gown, red shoes, almost melting into the background. He looks hard, but is unable to tell if she is fat or thin, pretty or ugly.
A stranger. My wife.

Parallels
  • Wild Swans by Jung Chang
  • Nanjing 1937: A Love Story by Ye Zhaoyan