Reading Horizons: Episode 6

Reading Horizons, 13 June 2018

Currently reading

The Chilli Bean Paste Clan (我们家)  by Yan Ge

chilli bean clan

This was the May selection by the Asymptote Book Club. I took out a subscription at thebeginning of the year but I’ve yet to read any of them (until now). Apparently in 2014 it was described by Words Without Borders  as a “delightfully irreverent” novel and China’s “best untranslated book.” It’s taken a few years but thanks to translator Nicky Harman we now have it in English.

In a small Sichuan town, preparations are underway for a party to mark the 80th birthday of the matriarch ‘Gran’. The celebrations will bring to a head sibling rivalry and unveil secrets from the past. I’m about 80 pages in and enjoying the portrait of ‘Dad’ who is boss of the family’s famous Sichuan chilli bean paste. He’s a heavy smoker and a womaniser who can’t live up to the success of his elder brother and has to contend with the competing demands of three women: wife, mistress and mother.

Recently Finished

The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies

The Welsh Girl

 I’ve been intending to read The Welsh Girl for quite some time. As a Welsh girl myself how could I possibly ignore this book?  It’s the debut novel by Ho Davies and is set just as the second world war is staggering to a close. Despite their remote location, the people who live in rural Wales find their lives impacted by the war when soldiers arrive to build a new camp for German prisoners of war.  Ho Davies uses this as a mechanism to consider issues of identity and belonging. Well worth reading


Reading next

Missing fay

One of the book clubs I belong to has just chosen Missing Fay by Adam Thorpe for our July meeting. This has a similar plot to Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor – the disappearance of a teenage girl though McGregor’s novel has a rural setting where Thorpe goes for an urban location. Reservoir 13 was one of favourite reads from 2017 so it’s going to be interesting to see whether Thorpe can top it.

Reading Horizons is linked to WWWednesday, a meme  hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It involves answering 3 questions:

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?



What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

13 thoughts on “Reading Horizons: Episode 6

  • The Welsh Girl is wonderful isn’t it?

  • Judy Krueger

    Currently reading: Circe by Madeline Miller. Just finished This Rough Magic by Mary Stewart. Next will read Convention by Fletcher Knebel and Charles W Bailey II.

  • The Welsh Girl has on my TBR shelves for years – and I was under the impression that it was alternative fiction in which the Germans had won the war until I realised I was mixing it up with Resistance by Owen Sheers, also on my TBR shelves! I’m glad you think The Welsh Girl is well worth reading – I hope to get round to it soon.

    • The Welsh Girl is much stronger than Resistance I think. I know a lot of people really liked Resistance but I found it a bit lacking in depth unfortunately

  • I love the books I see by the Asymptote book club. We can’t subscribe yet from Australia but I hope this changes in future.

    • They seem to come up with some unusual choices which is great

  • Hmmm. What with Marina’s rather ambiguous comment on the book, I’m starting to think I *won’t* be hurrying to pick up G any time soon….


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