A nice beginning to the year: The Complex Chinese edition of The Etched City (蝕刻之城 — “shi ke zhi cheng”, I think — hope I’ll be able to find out how to say it properly), is out from Fullon Books in Taiwan, with a way cool cover — and a promo video. (Technically it’s out on 7th January, but it’s available for order now). Complex Chinese covers Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao, though not mainland China. Translations are exciting and wonderful things, and I feel enormously lucky to have had my work published in other languages. So a toast for the New Year to Zhou Pei Yu, who translated the book, and to translators everywhere. And a second drink to Gray Tan, my agent in Taiwan, and Danny Lin, who recommended the book to Gray, and to Fullon Books and the cover artist, whose name I hope to find out — I really dig that picture.

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New Year plans and resolutions:

Last night was fun. Watching fireworks go off behind tall buildings is strange — at first you can’t see much, then as smoke fills the air the coloured flashes light up the smoke. Had a conversation with a guy who taught motorcycle riding, with the consequence that my major New Year’s resolution is to take the motorbike taxis less often and limit my use of them to short rides down quiet streets or very congested sections of main road (which used to be my rule, but I got a bit blase last year). What he had to say about falls and injuries was a timely reminder that Motorbikes Are Dangerous. Terribly convenient in this city, but this year I’m going to try to allow enough time for cabs and Shanks’s pony instead.

My other resolution is to read a book a week. Last year I probably only read one a month. I’ve gotten started on this — read Patrick White’s The Solid Mandala last week, now reading Radical Alterity by Jean Baudrillard and Marc Guillaume.

Travel plans: Australia in March and maybe again in October or November. Hopefully Kathmandu and surrounds for a week in February.

Writing: Still working on new material for the collection. It’s getting there. I’d really, really like to have this thing sewn up by midyear. The Floating World is the other major project. I won’t be taking on anything else — unless for one reason or another it’s irresistible.



15 thoughts on “蝕刻之城

  1. That is a gorgeous edition! I hope you get some copies that I can admire when I get to Thailand in April.

    Good luck with the achieving of the writing goals.

  2. I love how it’s like the yin-yang symbol, with its suggestion of alchemy. I could babble on and on about how much I love this and how right I think it is for the book. I should have author copies by April.

    Thanks, and good luck to you with yours too!

  3. Innit! Right now I’m grooving on how the basilisk looks like a naga king and the sphinx (in the video) looks like a prettier version of me when I was 18 and red-haired. XD

  4. It looks like some kind of old text, a thing of history where mythology creeps into our reality – like a bestiary – and that’s somewhat appropriate too. =D

  5. It does! A blatantly fake antique, too, which is also appropriate. (Edit: I have another book with a cover like that, Greenmantle by John Buchan. It looks like they took an old paperback copy with creases and edge stains and reproduced it — looks great.)

  6. Oooh, how exciting! I love the Beth-sphinx lording it over the city, and the perspective reminds me, appropriately if superficially, of Escher. And it always gives me a kick when trailers are made for books. Congratulations on the translation, Happy New Year, and good luck with your various resolutions. 🙂

  7. Escher in North Africa 🙂 It reminds me of Fez. It looks like this publisher makes trailers for all their new books. And thanks! (I wished you HNY in email, so I’ll jump the gun and say Happy Year of the Tiger in advance 🙂 )

  8. I am beginning my education in Chinese language this quarter – I wish I could get a copy of this so I might make it a goal to eventually read it through as translated.

    The Chinese culture has long attracted me, as if it were part of my spirit/who I once was. I am truly hoping that as I advance in my study of Chinese history I’ll have the opportunity to spend some time studying there.

  9. A friend once commented that while in school the only books he ever got to read were textbooks. At the time I said to myself “that will never happen to me!”, but as school intensifies I find this to be more and more the case … I valued my christmas break a great deal – despite being sick most of the time – because it gave me a chance to catch up on non-school related reading. (I am literally running out of room in my dressers and vanity drawers for the books I’ve started and not managed to finish)

  10. I can ask Fullon to list it on Amazon — or maybe I’ll get enough copies that I can pass a few out.

    When I was a kid I was fascinated by Chinese writing. I used to scribble all over sheets of paper pretending to write in Chinese :-). I have a bundle of exotic nostalgias about China. I love cloudy gorges, dragons, foo dogs, paper lanterns and sampans in the same way that I love images of Edo-period Japan. My mother grew up in a gold-rush town with a large Chinese population, and I’m sure I’ve also inherited her nostalgia about the old wooden Chinatown and the Chinese people she knew. It’s primarily a nostalgia for images, acquired through images. She wasn’t happy in her own culture and I think she longed for that other culture (these days she’s a Japanophile). So I think it’s part of my spirit, but I don’t know if that’s in any pure, past life kind of way, or if it’s because China was always this beautiful, fantastical image given to me by my mother. Though I can say that as an adult I’ve come to appreciate both Taoist and Confucian thought — but I don’t know whether the Chinese themselves are still interested in those philosophies.

    I hope you get to study in China! And don’t worry, the books will wait for you. Perhaps they’ll read each other while you’re busy…

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