A work of fiction set in Taipei called A Taipei Mutt by Eric Mader Lin was reviewed in the Taipei Times by Bradley Winterton today. I wonder if anybody has read it? What do you think about this book? Does anyone know about the author? Does he still live in Taiwan? There is brief bio on the author’s website.
This passage, on; necessaryprose.com/days2002.htm
made me laugh out loud.
Boca del cano. Two eight-year-old girls talking before class time outside my office door. I can clearly hear every word they say.
“Is there anyone in this room?” the one girl asks her friend.
Their idea is to find a place away from the teachers and the other students in the school lobby.
“Yes. There’s an American in there,” the friend says.
“You’re fooling me,” the first girl says. “Really?”
“Really. There’s a big American in there! He’s inside there alone.”
“I don’t believe you! It’s a classroom.” (My office sometimes doubles as a small classroom for four or five students.) “No one’s here yet.”
“Don’t open it!” the friend says, referring to the door. “I’m telling you, there’s a really big American inside. Really.”
I step up next to the door and watch it open slowly, at first just a crack. I’m behind the door, out of sight and just above the tuft of black hair and the smooth bit of tanned yellow forehead that begins to protrude into the room.
“There’s no one in here,” the intruder finally says to her friend. “C’mon.”
“What do you want?” I ask, suddenly opening the door all the way.
The girl leaps back. "How kong bu! " she shouts to her friend. (It means something like: “The horror! The horror!”)
“I told you so,” the friend says, laughing. “I told you there was an American in there.”
I saw that review today in the Yellow Lady today
(sorry, a nod to the Gray Lady of the New York Times
slang) by their regular reviewer and it does seem like
an interesting book. So yes, who is this guy?
From this website, it looks like he married a
Taiwanese woman named Lin in the USA back in 1991 or
so, then came to Taiwan with her (thus the Mader/Lin
married name) and taught English her. I remember his
name from somewhere, like a newspaper freelance story
or maybe a letter to the editor in the China Post.
Name does ring a bell. Think i might have actually met
the dude at 45 one night but he never told me he was a
writer. we were both talking shop talk about teaching.
seems his original title for the book was THE TAIPEI
ZOO and it was supposed to published in October 2002
and maybe it was. but he changed the title now the
Wix, The reviewer guy said he just found it by chance
in a bookstore, … The review said the book
was published by a company in taipei called Chang
Cheng. Anyone ever heard of such a publishing company?
In another referece, the author says all copies of the
book were self printed by himself in typical expat
writer fashion, like John Ross and Steve Crook et al, so I guess
it’s another self-published book. But the review was
very very positive and good, so maybe this is one book
that is really a literary treasure here. We will see.
Meanwhile, read the guy’s website, it is full of
intellectual hocus pocus, maybe that’s his thing. He
said on his website it is available at BOOK MAN
bookstore in Taipei, where is that?
a long excerpt frm the book appears to be here
Mr Reinhard, you’re the critic here, review this stuff
for us. is it worth reading on rainy day? sunny day?
PS – it seems the guy is back in USA now, but maybe
he will chime in here and update us. maybe some of you
know him. i think i met him once at 45, as i said, but
then again, i hardly remember anything the next day
after I leave 45…in fact, just last night…
Send me the book and I’ll read it, although a tome on the life of an English teacher sounds droll.
Bookman’s is across the street from Tai Da, next door to McDonalds. I read the book in the store. It’s a satire, of course, with some sexy passages involving human / dog intercourse. A man gets changed into a dog, and can only change back if he has sex with a woman. As a dog. And all this happens in Taipei.
Several expat writers have self-published fiction here. One journalist wrote poetry (I remember the line “the dragon boats in proud array…”), as well as short stories (often anti-Communist). Anybody remember who this is? An English teacher wrote a book of short stories, including one about a female English teacher who dates a Chinese guy, who takes her for a sexy evening at Beitou hot springs. This would be the late 1980’s.
And down the street from Bookman’s, at Eslite, they used to have copies of a Tom Clancy style thing about war with China over Taiwan. It’s not there any more, I think.
Eric Mader-Lin has a letter to the editor in the Taipei Times today gushing about his book’s review by Bradley Winterton.
When I still lived in Australia, I checked out all 6 books about Taiwan in the local public library. Most were nonfiction travel guides. But this one interested me:
It’s about a private detective, who goes on the run in Taiwan. I remember the main character is a Chinese man, but several generations back his great great something great grandfather was a white guy, so his name is Western. I found it interesting to read this book and then come to Taiwan. The book wasn’t written all that long ago, so some of the setting was relevant to the Taipei I have come to…
Here’s the link:
taipeitimes.com/News/edit/ar … 2003084755
It shows a lot about the lack of editorial competence at the Taipei Times that such a bootlicking, ass-kissing letter could be printed.
Reading it is enough to make you gag.
I’m curious about the company that published his book. Is this a real publishing company or is it the author self-publishing?
I know that some English expat books get published here but I am curious about what companies would consider doing this.
From a business point of view is there a market for books like this in Taiwan? I assume that it is just being published locally. I am always amazed to see expat’s books published here.
I ran into this link and I’d like to solicit opinions on it ( perhaps it’s been discussed previously - sorry )
what follows is an excerpt from the author’s list; it must be hard to live inside this person’s head
[quote]13. Money is an important element of the daily functioning of Taipei. When the people are in movement outside their dwellings, they nearly always carry money with them. The people of Taipei hold their money enfolded in their clothes or in special leather containers. The money they carry is generally in one of two forms: either it is in coin or it is in bills.
Coins are small imprinted metal disks; bills are small sheets of imprinted paper.
The people of Taipei use money to exchange for things. They most often exchange money for tangible objects such as: food, clothing, tools, makeup, books.
Many objects for which people exchange money evidently have value in themselves, but in an important sense the money has no value in itself. Or rather, the value of money in Taipei is entirely conventional. The meaning of this is as follows: In Taipei, money is only of value when there are at least two people to recognize its value. Or: if a Taipei citizen planned to retreat to an isolated mountain dwellling for ten days, it is very possible he would bring no money with him. Being no other people there, the money would have no value. This is because, in an important sense, money has no value in itself.
For a long time it was difficult to convince the people of Taipei that money had any value at all. This can be recognized in the fact that both the bills and the coins are still elaborately decorated: they are imprinted with elaborate designs. One may speculate that the elaborate designs on bills in particular bear witness to a once active suspicion among the people that bills were in fact just pieces of paper with no more use than other, similar pieces of paper. This suspicion, however, has now subsided almost entirely in Taipei, and just as the people of the city nearly all agree on the divisions of time, so they also nearly all agree on the value of money.
Although coins are more substantial and attractive in themselves, it is the bills that are recognized to have the greater value. This is a paradox not lost on small children, who soon, however, overcome the feeling that it is a paradox.
There are some very strange people resident in Taiwan. Thanks for sharing this wonderful example
Oh, that seems to be the author of “A Taipei Mutt”. I’m reading it right now but am not too impressed… I’ll post a review when I’m finished (if I finish :s ). Whatever I’ve seen of his website, I like much better than the book.
this guys fuckin’ bonkers innit?
yes, but some of the stuff is quite funny (unlike the book which imho is totally boring and much too verbose (I had to look this up - would “prolix” be better? Never heard of that one )). The most interesting thing in the book so far is his description of his German friend Jurgen who was turned into a German shepherd: literal and straightforward - I’ve heard that more than once about myself
I found a mistake!
The months and days (except Sunday) are numbered, not named, in the major local languages.
P.S. On second thought, maybe a number can BE a name.
It looks like satire to me. But it’s not very good satire, and it needs a context.
[quote=“Screaming Jesus”]I found a mistake!
The months and days (except Sunday) are numbered, not named, in the major local languages.
P.S. On second thought, maybe a number can BE a name.[/quote]
Which brings up a question I’ve been wondering about. What is the etymology of the Chinese word for the seventh day, which is xinxiri - Sunday? Did they just copy the West in naming that the day of the sun?
I’ve been wading through the Pimsleur Mandarin course, and there’s some stuff in the booklet about how Christian missionaries convinced some of the locals to change to using “worship” instead of “day”. Maybe that has something to do with “Sunday”, dunno.
Wasn’t “A Taipei Mutt” the book in which the protagonist has to find a woman to do it with, doggy-style? (With him having been turned into a dog?) Haven’t read it, just saw it mentioned on Forumosa a while back.