Vertical Motion


by Can Xue

September 13, 2011
stories | pb | 142 pgs
5.5" x 8.5"

“There's a new world master among us, and her name is Can Xue." 
—Robert Coover

Two young girls sneak onto the grounds of a hospital, where they find a disturbing moment of silence in a rose garden. A couple grows a plant that blooms underground, invisibly, to their long-time neighbor’s consternation. A cat worries about its sleepwalking owner, who receives a mysterious visitor while he’s asleep. After a ten-year absence, a young man visits his uncle, on the twenty-fourth floor of a high-rise that is floating in the air, while his ugly cousin hesitates on the stairs . . .

Can Xue is a master of the dreamscape, crafting stories that inhabit the space where fantasy and reality, time and timelessness, the quotidian and the extraordinary, meet. The stories in this striking and lyrical new collection—populated by old married couples, children, cats, and nosy neighbors, the entire menagerie of the everyday—reaffirm Can Xue's reputation as one of the most innovative Chinese writers in a generation.

Translated from the Chinese by Karen Gernant & Chen Zeping

About the Author: Can Xue, meaning "dirty snow, leftover snow," is the pseudonym of Deng Xiaohua. Born in 1953, in Changsha City, Hunan province, her parents were sent to the countryside during the Cultural Revolution, and she only graduated from elementary school. Can learned English on her own and wrote books on Borges, Shakespeare, and Dante. Her publications in English includeDialogues in ParadiseOld Floating CloudThe Embroidered ShoesBlue Light in the Sky and Other Stories, and most recently, Five Spice Street.


"If China has one possibility of a Nobel laureate, it is Can Xue." 
—Susan Sontag