Book Review: Braised Pork, by An Yu

braised pork
Image belongs to Grove Atlantic.

Title:  Braised Pork
AuthorAn Yu
Genre:  Fiction
Rating:  3.0 out of 5

One morning in autumn, just after breakfast, Jia Jia finds her husband dead in the bathtub of their Beijing apartment. Next to him is a piece of folded paper, a sketch of a strange creature from his dream. He has left her no other sign.

Young, alone, and with many unanswered questions, Jia Jia sets out on a journey. Starting at her neighborhood bar, fueled by anger, bewilderment, curiosity and love, she travels from nocturnal Beijing to the high plains of Tibet, deep into her past in order to arrive at her future.

So…I am not entirely sure why I even finished reading this. Because it was a quick read? That’s probably it. I enjoyed reading about the village culture in Tibet, but Jia Jia’s life was depressing, her lack of options was sad, and her obsession with finding this creature was absurd. There was a hint of magical realism in this, but it also seemed like the hallucinations of a troubled mind, so who’s to say what the truth was?

Excellent writing, but I found the story dark, sad, and virtually pointless, so this is clearly a case of the book not being a good fit for me.

An Yu is from Beijing. Braised Pork is her debut novel.

(Galley courtesy of Grove Atlantic in exchange for an honest review.)

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