Bestiary by K-Ming Chang



Bestiary by K-Ming Chang
Publisher: Harvill Secker
Publication Date: February 2021 
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy
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Source: Thank you Pansing for the review copy in return for an honest review
Rating: 3


Three generations of Taiwanese American women are haunted by the myths of their homeland in this blazing debut about one family's queer desires, violent impulses, and buried secrets.

One evening, Mother tells Daughter a story about a tiger spirit who lived in a woman's body. She was called Hu Gu Po, and she hungered to eat children, especially their toes. Soon afterwards, Daughter awakes with a tiger tail. And more mysterious events follow: Holes in the backyard spit up letters penned by her grandmother; a visiting aunt arrives with snakes in her belly; a brother tests the possibility of flight. All the while, Daughter is falling for Ben, a neighborhood girl with mysterious powers of her own. As the two young lovers translate the grandmother's letters, Daughter begins to understand that each woman in her family embodies a myth — and that she will have to bring her family's secrets to light in order to change their destiny.

With a poetic voice of crackling electricity, K-Ming Chang is an explosive young writer who combines the wit and fabulism of Helen Oyeyemi with the subversive storytelling of Maxine Hong Kingston. Tracing one family's history from Taiwan to America, from Arkansas to California, Bestiary is a novel of migration, queer lineages, and girlhood.


Honestly speaking, I am not sure what I feels after I finish reading this book. Bestiary is a story focalize on mythical aspect where it revolve around 3 generations of Taiwanese American women in the family. The story being passed down to each generation about the buried gold and tigers. One day, she wake up with a tail on her. 

The mythical, magical aspect in this is surreal. It really enough to caught my attention to stay from the beginning of my read till finish but I have to admit that it was a struggle with the writing style. It was written in lyrical way which my brain taking its sweet time to process. For a minute I think I get it but in another a minute my mind was blur. It is indeed the writing is a raw and poetic one. I didn't hate this nor liking much. I was in a neutral state. I love how the story brings us to discover about the family history, the hardships they face when they fled to America from Taiwan, and the mythology.

Overall, it is quite an engaging story but it taking a bit time for me to digest every words. I like it how it focus on exploration of folklore, the three generations in the family, migration, and family history. I'm hoping I could give all my loves on this book but it stay the way it is.