Saturday, July 11, 2009

What is Jonathan Tel reading?

This weekend's featured contributor to Writers Read: Jonathan Tel, author of the short story collection, The Beijing of Possibilities.

His entry begins:
I have several books on my desk, reading a chapter of one, a chapter of another, as the fancy takes me. I'm going through some books about China, related to my own writing, as well as those about places and times I know little of.

The Corpse Walker by Liao Yiwu is oral history: a series of interviews with Chinese at the bottom of the ladder. Most of his subjects are elderly, having lived through the turbulence of the last half century. Fascinating stories from a professional mourner, a safecracker, a mortician, a restroom attendant, and more. The interviews are skilfully edited, so that each has the shape of a short story, with the help of Wen Huang, who was also the translator. I like that the translation has...[read on]
Jonathan Tel is the author of the story collection Arafat’s Elephant (Counterpoint, 2002) and the novel Freud’s Alphabet (Counterpoint, 2003). His stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, and Zoetrope. He has worked as a quantum physicist and an opera librettist.

Read "Year of the Gorilla" and "Though the Candles Flicker Red," selections from The Beijing of Possibilities, at The China Beat.

Read more about The Beijing of Possibilities at the publisher's website.

Writers Read: Jonathan Tel.

--Marshal Zeringue