'Year of the Panda', a new story by Jonathan Tel

Reviewed by
ABR Fiction

'Year of the Panda', a new story by Jonathan Tel

Reviewed by
ABR Fiction

She sells her body to save her mother's life. If they made her the star of a reality show, that would be the tagline. The series would end with the mother's funeral; or else with a wedding: the heroine marries a perfect man, and the mother is magically restored to health. She breathes in and out, holding her smile, as she struts along the catwalk which is not really a catwalk - just a zone indicated with masking tape on the hardwood floor of a loft in a warehouse in north-east Beijing.

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Comments (4)

  • Loved the part about veins looking like English writing; puts the reader in a Chinese person's shoes. The language is easy on the eyes. Authors can use simple language badly or well, I think it is used well here and reflect the mind of an uneducated Chinese model of twenty five. However, the structure could use some more complexity to balance out the simple language.
    The author takes many liberties with punctuation and sentence structure which simply made me feel happy.
    The resolution does not resolve anything, I felt that there will be a scene following the final one. I like stories that leave me with a satisfying conclusion. That is my personal taste though. When Lan wore the panda suit, I anticipated wild symbolism and a drilling of themes and metaphors into my unconscious through imagery and well woven motifs. But none of that greeted me.
    Posted by Yazan Abu Zaid
    07 June 2017
  • Pretentious, boring and dreadful are three words to mind on reading this piece. Too, did the author skip punctuation lessons at school?
    Posted by Paul Ralph
    14 November 2016
  • A wonderful read - peppered with surreal word pictures and evoking the gamut of feelings Lan experiences throughout the adventure. Her mother's situation intruding into her current difficult reality added to the story's emotional power.
    Posted by Elin Howe
    28 September 2016
  • Gripped from first sentence until last. Loved the authenticity, especially this line: And the scene dissolves into her mother in bed, the varicose veins on the legs like English writing.
    Posted by Myra King
    24 June 2016

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