Fleche (Paperback)Mary Jean Chan (author)
- 10+ in stock
Intersecting ideas of motherhood, sisterhood, sexuality fable and folklore are delicately interwoven in this spry and thought-provoking collection from Chinese poet Mary Jean Chan. Moving from the poet’s complex relationship with her mother, to the stories she was told as a child of the Great Chinese Famine and her own conflicting responses to the challenges and freedoms offered by a bi-lingual identity Flèche is a powerful debut from a burgeoning new talent.
Fleche (the French word for 'arrow') is an offensive technique commonly used in fencing, a sport of Mary Jean Chan's young adult years, when she competed locally and internationally for her home city, Hong Kong.
This cross-linguistic pun presents the queer, non-white body as both vulnerable ('flesh') and weaponised ('fleche'), and evokes the difficulties of reconciling one's need for safety alongside the desire to shed one's protective armour in order to fully embrace the world.
Central to the collection is the figure of the poet's mother, whose fragmented memories of political turmoil in twentieth-century China are sensitively threaded through the book in an eight-part poetic sequence, combined with recollections from Chan's childhood.
As complex themes of multilingualism, queerness, psychoanalysis and cultural history emerge, so too does a richly imagined personal, maternal and national biography. The result is a series of poems that feel urgent and true, dazzling and devastating by turns.
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Number of pages: 88
Weight: 145 g
Dimensions: 203 x 157 x 7 mm
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“Heart breaking and brilliant”
So I admit to rarely reading poetry, but as it won it's costa book award category I decided to give it a try.
It is absolutely brilliant, but yes heart breaking is so many ways.
However, I definitely recommend it!
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