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CAT Book Club: September

The fall edition of the CAT Book Club kicks off this month with three books that we’re very excited about!

Notes of a Crocodile by Qiu Miaojin, translated from Chinese by Bonnie Huie (NYRB Classics)

After the Winter by Guadalupe Nettel, translated from Spanish by Rosalind Harvey (Coffee House Press)

Flights by Olga Tokarczuk, translated from Polish by Jennifer Croft (Riverhead Books)

How can you participate? Read along with us and let us know your thoughts via Facebook, Twitter, or by commenting directly on the blog. We’ll be using the hashtag #TheCATBookClub to make it easy for you to follow along on social media. And if you’re in the Bay Area, be sure to attend any and all of our events with the books’ authors and translators. Not local? When possible, we’ll upload audio from the event, or else provide a robust recap of the conversations. Happy reading!


Notes of a Crocodile

Qiu Miaojin
Translated from Chinese by Bonnie Huie

Set in the post-martial-law era of late-1980s Taipei, Notes of a Crocodile is a coming-of-age story of queer misfits discovering love, friendship, and artistic affinity while hardly studying at Taiwan’s most prestigious university. Told through the eyes of an anonymous lesbian narrator nicknamed Lazi, this cult classic is a postmodern pastiche of diaries, vignettes, mash notes, aphorisms, exegesis, and satire by an incisive prose stylist and major countercultural figure.

Afflicted by her fatalistic attraction to Shui Ling, an older woman, Lazi turns for support to a circle of friends that includes a rich kid turned criminal and his troubled, self-destructive gay lover, as well as a bored, mischievous overachiever and her alluring slacker artist girlfriend.

Illustrating a process of liberation from the strictures of gender through radical self-inquiry, Notes of a Crocodile is a poignant masterpiece of social defiance by a singular voice in contemporary Chinese literature.


After the Winter

Guadalupe Nettel
Translated from Spanish by Rosalind Harvey

“Nettel’s sharp, potent novel depicts how even the briefest relationship can affect the rest of a life.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

Claudio is Cuban, lives in New York, and works at a publishing house. Cecilia is Mexican, lives in Paris, and is a student. He holds onto memories of his past in Havana and the loss of his first girlfriend, as well as his complicated relationship with a woman named Ruth. She remembers her tough teenage years, and now her friend Haydée encourages her to get rid of those fears and start enjoying her life. During a trip to Paris, Claudio and Cecilia’s destinies collide.

Join us for a conversation with the book’s author on September 20 at Oakland’s East Bay Booksellers!


Flights

Olga Tokarczuk
Translated from Polish by Jennifer Croft

Flights interweaves reflections on travel with an in-depth exploration of the human body, broaching life, death, motion, and migration. Chopin’s heart is carried back to Warsaw in secret by his adoring sister. A woman must return to her native Poland in order to poison her terminally ill high school sweetheart, and a young man slowly descends into madness when his wife and child mysteriously vanish during a vacation and just as suddenly reappear. Through these brilliantly imagined characters and stories, interwoven with haunting, playful, and revelatory meditations, Flights explores what it means to be a traveler, a wanderer, a body in motion not only through space but through time. Where are you from? Where are you coming in from? Where are you going? we call to the traveler. Enchanting, unsettling, and wholly original, Flights is a master storyteller’s answer.

Join us for a conversation with the book’s author and translator on October 4 at Green Apple Books on the Park in San Francisco!