Connecting is not easy, but proximity is unbearable. The characters in these brilliant and intense stories are longing for escape, but they inevitably find themselves homesick.
Chih-Ying Lay, a Taiwanese-Canadian, explores our desperate need for beauty and belonging–-and the cost when what is found is the opposite of both. Lay’s characters are outsiders, whether queer, indigenous, unloved, or lost, and each discovers that home is not the sanctuary it was meant to be. Sometimes, however, they find a place to call their very own, as if to tell the reader: You can, too.
"Good writers create worlds -- great writers, glittering constellations. Chih-Ying Lay's debut collection makes my head spin. Diamond-hard, harrowing, melancholy, bawdy, erudite, his stories stream with blood, sperm, tears, piss, sweat, passion, loss. A medical student lovingly dissects the body of a dear friend who was a political dissident; a twisted sexual triangle develops between an artist, her nine-year-old son, and a day labourer; a young man whose mother is in chemo develops sympathetic symptoms all his own. By turns blunt, cynical, yearning, delicate, wounding, Home Sickness is the work of a true original. As one queer writer to another, I salute an astonishing new talent."
Will Aitken, Antigone Undone
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Born in Taipei, CHIH-YING LAY came to Canada in 2008 to obtain his Ph.D. in Microbiology at McGill University. Stories from his first collection, The Escapist, published in Taiwan in 2008, have been awarded the Formosa Literature Prize and the Liberty Times Literature Prize. He has published a novel, The Ideal Family (2012), and another collection of short fiction, The Comic Lives of Losers (2016). A guest broadcaster both in Taiwan and for Radio Canada International in Montreal, Lay sings in Ensemble Sainte-Anne Singers and Musica Orbium. He works as a senior research scientist in Montreal.
DARRYL STERK has been translating Mandarin-language fiction from Taiwan and occasionally from China for a dozen years, most notably Wu Ming-Yi's two novels The Man With the Compound Eyes (Harvill Secker, 2013) and The Stolen Bicycle (Text, 2017), which was longlisted for the Booker International. He translated Xue Yiwei's Shenzheners (2016) and Dr. Bethune's Children (2017) for Linda Leith Publishing. Originally from Edmonton, Darryl Sterk lives in Hong Kong.