Salt Fish Girl: A Novel

Front Cover
Dundurn, Aug 4, 2002 - Fiction - 269 pages
30 Reviews

Salt Fish Girl is the mesmerizing tale of an ageless female character who shifts shape and form through time and place. Told in the beguiling voice of a narrator who is fish, snake, girl, and woman - all of whom must struggle against adversity for survival - the novel is set alternately in nineteenth-century China and in a futuristic Pacific Northwest.

At turns whimsical and wry, Salt Fish Girl intertwines the story of Nu Wa, the shape-shifter, and that of Miranda, a troubled young girl living in the walled city of Serendipity circa 2044. Miranda is haunted by traces of her mother's glamourous cabaret career, the strange smell of durian fruit that lingers about her, and odd tokens reminiscient of Nu Wa. Could Miranda be infected by the Dreaming Disease that makes the past leak into the present?

Framed by a playful sense of magical realism, Salt Fish Girl reveals a futuristic Pacific Northwest where corporations govern cities, factory workers are cybernetically engineered, middle-class labour is a video game, and those who haven't sold out to commerce and other ills must fight the evil powers intent on controlling everything. Rich with ancient Chinese mythology and cultural lore, this remarkable novel is about gender, love, honour, intrigue, and fighting against oppression.

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Review: Salt Fish Girl

User Review  - Farrah - Goodreads

Tricky. Lai packs a ton into this novel: she tackles science, technology, consumerism, exploitation, the environment, the commodification of people, feminism, and plenty of other stuff that I haven't ... Read full review

Review: Salt Fish Girl

User Review  - Jeff - Goodreads

I was utterly grabbed by this beautiful, haunting, and complex narrative. Oscillating between chinese mythology (the past) and corporate dystopia (the speculative future), Lai draws on a complicated ... Read full review

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About the author (2002)

Larissa Lai is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at The University of British Columbia. She has been the Markin-Flanagan Writer-in-Residence at the University of Calgary (1997-8), and Writer-in-Residence in the English Department at Simon Fraser University (2006). Her second novel, Salt Fish Girl was shortlisted for the Sunburst Award, the Tiptree Award and the City of Calgary W. O. Mitchell Award.

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