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BSFA Review: Hospital by Han Song

24/11/2023 09:00 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Hospital cover

Hospital by Han Song

(Amazon Crossing, 2023)

A Primer to Han Song edited by Eric J. Guignard

(Dark Moon Books, 2020)

Reviewed by Niall Harrison

Based on what has appeared in English so far, Han Song’s best and most characteristic stories are defined by their involution. Take the novelette “Transformation Subway” (2003, trans. Nathaniel Isaacson). It opens straightforwardly: Zhou Xing is squashed between other passengers on his Monday rush-hour subway train. “Only the existence of a clearly defined endpoint”, we are told, “gave him the necessary patience and tenacity to tolerate the situation”. But on this Monday, the endpoint turns out to not be so clearly defined. Gradually, the passengers realise their train is not passing through the expected stations; there is only an “abyssal blackness” outside the windows.

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Review from BSFA Review 21 - Download your copy here.


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