March 2023 Book Rec: Notes of a Crocodile by Qiu Miaojin

“I don’t know how other people endure the violence and cruelty they encounter throughout their lives,” remarks the narrator of Notes of a Crocodile (by Qiu Miaojin, translated by Bonnie Huie), a young college student named Lazi. She is mourning the end of a relationship with her troubled ex-girlfriend, Shui Ling—only she, Lazi, is the one who ended it. In part this book is about that very question–how its characters (young gay women and men living in Taiwan in the 1980s) hurt each other, acting out their own traumas on each other, and sometimes becoming cruel out of pain and confusion.

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