This quirky short work by Connell (Pleasant Tales) mixes kung fu action with faux-Taoist wisdom and short poems in a pseudo-Chinese style. “Reeds bow to rising sun, orange blaze—ducks awaken and hidden gods murmur silent prayers,” Connell begins, alerting readers immediately that this will not be a straightforward narrative. There is a story here, though, and it is the story of Pi Wei, a young boy whose father, Pi Jung, is callously murdered by Eunuch Sung. Abandoned by his mother, Pi Wei seeks his way in the world, resolving to find some way to kill his father’s killer. Eventually, the hermit Master T’uan agrees to teach Pi Wei in return for providing the master with wine. Of course, as in all kung fu stories, Pi Wei practices various disciplines to become strong and skilled, the most important of which is “sex with trees.” Connell provides plenty of fighting, breaking up the story now and then with brief verses and the occasional nonsensical passage in full caps. This flight of fancy will befuddle many but amuse a few. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/15/2018 Release date: 10/29/2018 Genre: Fiction
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