By Qiu Miaojin, Ari Larissa Heinrich
An NYRB Classics Original
When the pioneering Taiwanese novelist Qiu Miaojin devoted suicide in 1995 at age twenty-six, she left at the back of her unpublished masterpiece, Last phrases from Montmartre. Unfolding via a chain of letters written through an unnamed narrator, Last Words tells the tale of a passionate dating among younger women--their sexual awakening, their sluggish breakup, and the devastating aftermath in their damaged love. In a mode that veers among extremes, from self-deprecation to pathos, compulsive repetition to rhapsodic musings, reticence to vulnerability, Qiu's genre-bending novel is at as soon as a mental mystery, a chic romance, and the author's personal suicide note.
The letters (which, Qiu tells us, should be learn in any order) bounce among Paris, Taipei, and Tokyo. They show wrenching insights into what it skill to reside among cultures, languages, and genders--until the genderless personality Zoë appears to be like, and the narrator's religious and actual identification is remodeled. As powerfully uncooked and transcendent as Mishima's Confessions of a Mask, Goethe's The Sorrows of younger Werther, and Theresa Cha's Dictée, to call yet a few, final phrases from Montmartre proves Qiu Miaojin to be one of many most interesting experimentalists and modernist Chinese-language writers of our generation.
Translated through Ari Larissa Heinrich.
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