That We May Live (Calico Series)
“This remarkable anthology of Chinese speculative fiction offers seven tales of societal responsibility and individual freedom. . . . By turns cryptic and revealing, phantasmagorical and straightforward, these tales balance reality and fantasy on the edge of a knife.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“With enthralling and precise language, this first book in Two Lines Press’ Calico series of collected translated literature impresses…This collection of speculative Chinese fiction is compelling and provocative, exploring the thin line between reality and absurdity.” —Booklist, starred review
A woman impulsively decides to visit her grandmother in a scene reminiscent of “Little Red Riding Hood,” only to find herself in a town of women obsessed with a mysterious fermented beverage. An aging and well-respected female newscaster at a provincial TV station finds herself caught up in an illicit affair with her boss, who insists that she recite the news while they have sex. An anonymous city prone to vanishing storefronts begins to plant giant mushrooms for its citizens to live in, with disastrous consequences.
In this first book in the brand-new Calico Series, we bring you work by some of today’s most exciting writers from China and Hong Kong, including Dorothy Tse (tr. Natascha Bruce), Zhu Hui (tr. Michael Day), and Enoch Tam (tr. Jeremy Tiang). Lightly touching on issues of urbanization, sexuality, and propaganda, the collection builds a world both utterly disorienting and disturbing familiar, prompting the question: Where does reality end and absurdity begin in a world pushed to its very limits?
That We May Live includes work from:
Dorothy Tse | translated by Natascha Bruce
Enoch Tam | translated by Jeremy Tiang
Zhu Hui | translated by Michael Day
Chan Chi Wa | translated by Audrey Heijns
Chen Si’an | translated by Canaan Morse
Yan Ge | translated by Jeremy Tiang
The Calico series, published biannually by Two Lines Press, captures vanguard works of translated literature in stylish, collectible editions. Each Calico is a vibrant snapshot that explores one aspect of our present moment, offering the voices of previously inaccessible, highly innovative writers from around the world today. That We May Live is the first book in the series.
“This remarkable anthology of Chinese speculative fiction offers seven tales of societal responsibility and individual freedom. . . . By turns cryptic and revealing, phantasmagorical and straightforward, these tales balance reality and fantasy on the edge of a knife.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“With enthralling and precise language, this first book in Two Lines Press’ Calico series of collected translated literature impresses…This collection of speculative Chinese fiction is compelling and provocative, exploring the thin line between reality and absurdity.” —Booklist (starred review)
“Although billed as a collection of ‘speculative Chinese fiction,’ That We May Live at its core references global philosophical quandaries and anxieties. It describes not just the conditions that can shackle and fail us, but also the complex choices around those conditions that we can engage in. While there are no clear roadmaps, the stories in That We May Live place interpretation, and therefore agency, into the hands of the reader. As Chen Si’an writes at the conclusion, ‘This sentence he had read somewhere in a book was only the beginning. It was up to him to write what came after.’ Now that we have been awakened, it is up to us to decide how we might survive.” —Asymptote
“That We May Live is an unforgettable collection, serving as evidence to the fact that sometimes, like a distant star, our world is seen most clearly when viewed askance.” —The Arkansas International
“…give[s] the reader an oblique insight into contemporary social issues in Hong Kong and China, issues which however, could occur just about anywhere.” —Asian Review of Books
“An interesting melange of surreal moments, the writing across this anthology is both familiar and entirely unknown, like snapshots of a place you’ve never been. The stories themselves seem to tend toward absurdism, but with a firm foundation in relatable ideas. As the first in the new Calico series, it promises the beginnings of an impressive collection.” —Amy Van Keuren, Bank Square Books (Mystic, CT)
“I absolutely love speculative Chinese fiction, and this anthology definitely whet that particular appetite. Tales of absolute obscurity that enchant and entice, That We May Live is a beautifully woven collection that I recommend to everyone that loves the blending of absurdity and reality. This is definitely a collection for fans of Karen Russell, Max Porter, and Emily Tesh.” —Delany Holcomb, Bookmarks (Winston-Salem, NC)