A perfect crime by A Yi
Original title -Xiamian Wo Gai Ganxie Shenme (下面我该干些什么)
Translator – Anne Holmwood
Source – Review copy
live in a town called Millhaven
And it’s small and it’s mean and it’s cold
But if you come around just as the sun goes down
You can watch the whole town turn to gold
It’s around about then that I used to go a-roaming
Singing La la la la La la la lie
All God’s children they all gotta die
My name is Loretta but I prefer Lottie
I’m closing in on my fifteenth year
And if you think you have seen a pair of eyes more green
Then you sure didn’t see them around here
My hair is yellow and I’m always a-combing
La la la la La la la lie
Mama often told me we all got to die
I choose a murder ballad from Nick Caves murder Ballad album another teenager going round killing people . source
I said when this one arrived it was the first Chinese novel I had read the blurb of and thought I would like . I’ve not really hate the other Chinese novels I ‘ve read for me they miss what I want to see and that is the experience of living in a mega city or living in a country that is so in flux and yet so traditional in other ways . A Yi was a police officer for five years then turned his hand to writing first as editor at Chutzpah a lit magazine and he then moved to Xiron publishing where he set up a literary imprint “Iron Gourd ” he has written numerous short stories and has his own blog in China .He was on a list of 20 future literary giants in 2010 .
it struck me with an incredible force that she was letting me kill her . It wasn’t my decision to make . She was the one in charge , walking in front of me , leading me up the stairs towards her death .
“Why are you still wearing your cap ?” She said
“It’s part of the plan ” , I said
She didn’t understand , so I repeated . “It’s part of the plan ”
He is rather delude in some ways !!
A perfect crime this isn;t that at all ,of course the perfect crime is the one where the person doing the crime doesn’t get caught ! This book follows one teenager as he kills the Aunt whom he shares the house with and then tries to run away and get away with the crime .He kills her stuffs her in a washing machine and then decides to run . He some how in a country of billions manages to get capture where he is interrogated and sentence by the court and then … Why did he kill her , why did he run ? The book follows a bleak teen into a bleak world .
My body kept sinking and I had to fight for the right to rest . Sometimes my poor hands would let my feet take the burden , sometimes the other way round .
“I need a pee ” I shouted at one point , the response to which was the sound of clanging from outside and then “go on then ”
In the middle of the interrogation after he is caught .
The book is told in short choppy chapters you see he is a writer that is maybe more at home with a short story eac h chapter is self-contained . Yet tell a part of the whole story from the early stages to deciding to kill his aunt the killing then we see how he runs off in three chapter then we see the judicial and police process from the teenager view point . The whole story is told in the first person .This shows a brutal crime and the outcome . A Yi style is trimmed and brutal , he hasn’t hidden Chinese police and justice systems behind rose-coloured glasses , no this shows the brutal nature of justice in China ! Now the cover mentions Kafka , Camus among others . For me I was reminded of communist writers like Herta Muller a book like the appointment which like this book shows the inner working of the bureaucracy of Communism .But it is also about a world that is being lost clashing culture the aunt generation and the hi speed ,hi tech world of the teenager .A novel that lifts the veil of growing up faceless and in this case nameless in a nameless city that could be any one of a thousand small cities in china !
Have you a favourite Chinese novel ?