Sunday, 9 November 2014

White Horse by Yan Ge and translated by Nicky Harman (Fiction, 7/10E, a semi short 'n' sweet review)

It was definitely the summary and not the odd cover which drew me to this book
October 2014, Hope Road Publishing, 39 pages, Ebook, Review copy 

Themes: some strong adult situations

Summary from Hope Road Publishing
Yun Yun lives in a small West China town with her widowed father, and an uncle, aunt and older cousin who live nearby. One day, her once-secure world begins to fall apart. Through her eyes, we observe her cousin, Zhang Qing, keen to dive into the excitements of adolescence but clashing with repressive parents. Ensuing tensions reveal that the relationships between the two families are founded on a terrible lie.

Nayu's thoughts
This novella took me by surprise in both content and plot. I expected some romance, but what actually happened was eye opening and made me stop for a few minutes before carrying on. Revelation after revelation made me feel extremely sorry for Yun Yun - I wanted her to have a stable family life, when hers was the total opposite. I think it might be the style which surprised me plot wise. I don't know how or why my expectations were of a quiet, peaceful life with insignificant drama magnified by a child's perspective, but the actual story wasn't like that at all! 

I'm not quite sure how to explain this in words but the style and perspective of Yun Yun's story was a bit different to the books I usually read - not in a negative way, just another thing I didn't expect. This is the joy of reading translations, having my eyes opened to what actually happens in other countries, the way family units are connected, and how no one is spared from absurd family drama with wide ranging issues to be faced.  

Suggested read 
Another Chinese based story is First Girl by Glorian Whelan (Children's, 10 years +, 10E/10E) 

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