Saturday, April 30, 2011

UFO In Her Eyes by Xiaolu Guo

I thoroughly enjoyed Ms.Guo's 20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth, and when I saw this book at the airport, I bought it on a whim. When facing a ten hour flight, I often oversupply myself with my Kindle PLUS several books in print (kind of defeats the purpose of the ebook, doesn't it?). Despite the title, this is not a book about UFOs, but a treatise on the hazards of modernization in rural China. On September 11, 2012, 38 year-old peasant girl Kwok Yun passes out in a rice field, only to wake up and find a bleeding snake-bitten man who needs help. She takes him to her home, provides medical assistance, and he disappears while she is sleeping. She tells her story to the chief of her small village, who promptly informs Kwok Yun that she has seen a UFO and possibly had contact with an alien. When Chief Chang seizes the opportunity to bring fame and fortune to her ailing village of Silver Hill, the results are darkly comical and disastrous for the locals. Told in a series of interviews with two government agents, the story is conveyed by various residents of Silver Hill, who aren't at all pleased with their past or their imminent future. Guo's choice of September 11th as the catalyst to the absurdity is clearly no accident. If you are interested in Xiaolu Guo's writing, I suggest reading 20 Fragments instead. Grade 10+