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Notes of a Crocodile (NYRB Classics) by Qiu…
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Notes of a Crocodile (NYRB Classics) (original 1994; edition 2017)

by Qiu Miaojin (Author), Bonnie Huie (Translator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1568133,404 (3.38)4
"Set in the post-martial-law era of 1990s Taipei, Notes of a Crocodile depicts the coming-of-age of a group of queer misfits discovering love, friendship, and artistic affinity while hardly studying at Taiwan's most prestigious university. Told through the eyes of an anonymous lesbian narrator nicknamed Lazi, Qiu Miaojin's cult classic novel is a postmodern pastiche of diaries, vignettes, mash notes, aphorisms, exegesis, and satire by an incisive prose stylist and countercultural icon. Afflicted by her fatalistic attraction to Shui Ling, an older woman who is alternately hot and cold toward her, Lazi turns for support to a circle of friends that includes the devil-may-care, rich-kid-turned-criminal Meng Sheng and his troubled, self-destructive gay lover Chu Kuang, as well as the bored, mischievous overachiever Tun Tun and her alluring slacker artist girlfriend Zhi Rou. Bursting with the optimism of newfound liberation and romantic idealism despite corroding innocence, Notes of a Crocodile is a poignant and intimate masterpiece of social defiance by a singular voice in contemporary Chinese literature"--… (more)
Member:emily_morine
Title:Notes of a Crocodile (NYRB Classics)
Authors:Qiu Miaojin (Author)
Other authors:Bonnie Huie (Translator)
Info:NYRB Classics (2017), Edition: Main, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:toberead, taiwanese, xx, novels, queer

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Notes of a Crocodile by Qiu Miaojin (1994)

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» See also 4 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
I'd never heard of this book before, but bought it based on NYRB classics, translated fiction, queer misfits, and I don't think I've read any authors from Taiwan before. Plus this cover is just fantastic. Still, I had very little in the way of expectations going in.

Now I am struggling to find a way to talk about it. Central to the story is the narrator, known to us only by the nickname Lazi, and her on-again off-again love with Shui Ling. Told from excerpts from ten notebooks Lazi wrote over a period encompassing what seems to be the last few years of high school (except she is no longer living at home?) through what seems to be a prestigious college -- as she struggles to figure out life and love (mostly love) with the help of a few other queer kids who all seem to be cut off from any larger, established LGBTQIA+ community and so are figuring things out in a vacuum with mostly only their self-doubts, fleeting obsessions, and the judgements of society at large to guid them. The fragmented run-on sentence above is somewhat indicative of the fragmented nature of the text, which sometimes shifts backwards and forwards in time and also sideways to a crocodile analogy in a way that is sometimes bewildering but no more so than it would be to live that way. Most of the characters involved seem to be academically gifted, analytical, obscure-reference making types instantly familiar to anyone who's ever been on a college campus. I couldn't help but love them all and fiercely wish for them to be scooped up by queer elders to share with them joy and radical acceptance.

Have already acquired her other novel. ( )
1 vote greeniezona | Jan 21, 2020 |
While I appreciate the what was being done in this book, and it did what it set out to, I struggled to find hardly anything I liked it. I didn't rate it as low as I was going to, because even though I didn't like it myself it was so inertly representative of what being that age, and struggling with everything this books covers, that I felt it was only fair. However it is a real reminder that all of that was really horrible and to read about someone else going through didn't make it more poignant.

I'm sure that is an audience out there for this book. I am just not it. ( )
  Natix | Jun 3, 2019 |
im like not going to explain myself im just going to say that i really really liked this book. the Strangeness..... idk if u can do this on this site but message me if you're actually interested in knowing the rationale behind my rating. ( )
  wendyings | May 2, 2019 |
This book provides a very introspective look into the life of a college student who seems to suffer from depression and a lot of guilt over her sexuality. She struggles over her love for a woman who is very unreliable and is tormented by this. In the way of the very young, she can often come across as whiny or melodramatic. Still, this was an interesting look at how homosexual students in Taiwan in the late 80s dealt with societal pressures. ( )
  redwritinghood38 | Nov 6, 2018 |
Notes of a Crocodile describes the college years of a young gay Taiwanese woman, her various lovers and friends during the later 1980s and early 1990s in Taipei. Like most coming-of-age novels it describes the heartbreak of youth, the gaining of experience through the harsh blows of the world, the exaltations and despairs of first love, the gradual coming together of a sense of self, of a sense of destiny. And like most coming out novels it describes the sense of isolation from society as the first realisations of same sex desire dawn, the sense of an already fragile, fledgling egohood rendered even more precarious by the knowledge of an otherness, the knowledge that one is becoming an unwilling transgressor against society.

Read the full review on The Lectern ( )
9 vote tomcatMurr | Apr 7, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
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July 20, 1991. Picked up my college diploma at the service window of the registrar's office.
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I'd always been surrounded by people who cared for me, but no matter how much they loved me, they couldn't save me: It just wasn't me. I never let others get too close and simply paraded a fake me that resembled their image of me. Sweeping that other me into their arms, they led me in a dance within societal norms, along a trajectory based on a delusion. (Though I couldn't define what I was, I knew what I wasn't.) I was shown the limits, and being confined within a set of walls tormented me and drained me of life, for the real me spanned multitudes, stretching far beyond the bounds of normality encircling ninety percent of the human race.
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"Set in the post-martial-law era of 1990s Taipei, Notes of a Crocodile depicts the coming-of-age of a group of queer misfits discovering love, friendship, and artistic affinity while hardly studying at Taiwan's most prestigious university. Told through the eyes of an anonymous lesbian narrator nicknamed Lazi, Qiu Miaojin's cult classic novel is a postmodern pastiche of diaries, vignettes, mash notes, aphorisms, exegesis, and satire by an incisive prose stylist and countercultural icon. Afflicted by her fatalistic attraction to Shui Ling, an older woman who is alternately hot and cold toward her, Lazi turns for support to a circle of friends that includes the devil-may-care, rich-kid-turned-criminal Meng Sheng and his troubled, self-destructive gay lover Chu Kuang, as well as the bored, mischievous overachiever Tun Tun and her alluring slacker artist girlfriend Zhi Rou. Bursting with the optimism of newfound liberation and romantic idealism despite corroding innocence, Notes of a Crocodile is a poignant and intimate masterpiece of social defiance by a singular voice in contemporary Chinese literature"--

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