Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Spring Fun

Spring Fun is about a young Taiwanese woman who has just committed suicide. The novel traces her life and the influences upon her thinking, that have led her to this final step.

The novel focuses both on the protagonist, who spent much of her childhood in Amsterdam, and several of her friends, who show different sides of being female and Taiwanese.

Lynn-Yuling Tzeng's novel (purchased here in Taiwan, although I can't recall exactly where) is an interesting, locally-published creation. For the first time I can remember, I have a book with no publishing information to be found anywhere on it, and Internet searches come up with very scanty results. Even tiny publishing houses generally put their brands on books they publish, so Tzeng's novel is something of an interesting anomaly. I wish I could remember how it came into our possession.

This is going to sound unkinder than I mean it, but here goes: This book clearly never saw a professional editor. It's not just that the prose makes me think it was written by a non-native English speaker and then proofread by a native speaker who didn't feel at liberty to edit on a large scale. It's also the odd and inconsistent use of footnotes, and a generally not-quite-polished style.

And that's not meant as negativity -- I rather liked the slight clunkiness. It brought me feeling a bit closer to the author, as if I was reading a manuscript. It didn't take me long to get accustomed to the style, and then I felt perfectly at ease with it.

I just have one negative thing to say about the novel. I know it's explicitly a feminist work. I'm not even going to say there's nothing wrong with that -- that would just sound condescending -- but rather, I like that; I like reading books written by people who are not coming from my own viewpoint. That said, I wish there had been male characters in this universe who weren't jerks. That's all.

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