One of our recommended books for 2020 is Braised Pork by An Yu

BRAISED PORK


Beautiful, dreamlike, and utterly intoxicating, Braised Pork is the beguiling debut of an outstandingly talented young writer who is based in China but writes in English.

One autumn morning, Jia Jia walks into the bathroom of her lavish Beijing apartment to find her husband dead. One minute she was breakfasting with him and packing for an upcoming trip, the next, she finds him motionless in their half-full bathtub. Like something out of a dream, next to the tub Jia Jia discovers a pencil sketch of a strange watery figure, an image that swims into Jia Jia’s mind and won’t leave.

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Beautiful, dreamlike, and utterly intoxicating, Braised Pork is the beguiling debut of an outstandingly talented young writer who is based in China but writes in English.

One autumn morning, Jia Jia walks into the bathroom of her lavish Beijing apartment to find her husband dead. One minute she was breakfasting with him and packing for an upcoming trip, the next, she finds him motionless in their half-full bathtub. Like something out of a dream, next to the tub Jia Jia discovers a pencil sketch of a strange watery figure, an image that swims into Jia Jia’s mind and won’t leave.

The mysterious drawing launches Jia Jia on an odyssey across contemporary Beijing, from its high-rise apartments to its hidden bars, as her path crosses some of the people who call the city home, including a jaded bartender who may be able to offer her the kind of love she had long thought impossible.

Unencumbered by a marriage that had constrained her, Jia Jia travels into her past to try to discover things that were left unsaid by the people closest to her. Her journey takes her to the high plains of Tibet, and even to a shadowy, watery otherworld, a place she both yearns and fears to go.

Exquisitely attuned to the complexities of human connection, and an atmospheric and cinematic evocation of middle-class urban China, An Yu’s Braised Pork explores the intimate strangeness of grief, the indelible mysteries of unseen worlds, and the energizing self-discovery of a newly empowered young woman.

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  • Grove Press
  • Hardcover
  • April 2020
  • 240 Pages
  • 9780802148711

Buy the Book

$25.00

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About An Yu

An Yu is the author of Braised Pork, credit Tara LengyelAn Yu was born and raised in Beijing, and left at the age of eighteen to study in New York at NYU. A graduate of the NYU MFA in Creative Writing, she writes her fiction in English. She is twenty-six years old and lives in Beijing. Braised Pork is her first novel.

Praise

An Indies Introduce Title

“In searching for answers to her husband’s untimely death, a young widow in Beijing finds room to explore her own existential angst . . . Yu’s original debut spins an increasingly surreal tale which brilliantly mirrors Jia Jia’s own discombobulation . . . Proof positive that rebirths are entirely possible—even in one lifetime.”Kirkus Reviews

“An’s poignant debut tells the story of a young woman trying to find purpose in her life in the wake of disorienting personal tragedy . . . An draws Jia Jia with great affection and sympathy as the character grapples with the elusive meaning of her dreams and powerful emotional experiences. Readers will be moved by An’s mature meditation on the often inexplicable forces that shape the trajectory of fan individual life.”Publishers Weekly

“The premise itself is intriguing enough, but the real magic is in watching Jia Jia stretch her limbs as she leaves behind a rather restrictive marriage and encounters places and people she never imagined. Come for the mystery, stay for self-discovery of a liberated woman.”Literary Hub

“A startlingly original debut . . . While it’s easy to see that Braised Pork borrows something of Haruki Murakami’s brand of strange melancholia, there’s a startlingly original imagination of its own at work here . . . A sensitive portrait of alienated young womanhood.”Guardian

“A seductive, sharply observed tale of love, loss and hope.”Daily Mail

“An elegant, dreamlike tale of a woman’s self-realization, set in contemporary Beijing.”Daily Telegraph

“Rich and strange . . . Wild and distinctive.”Observer

“Strange and cinematic, this is an author to keep an eye on.”Stylist

“Bold yet understated, Braised Pork is the debut of a supremely confident and gifted writer.”—Katie Kitamura, author of A Separation