Lai, When Fox Is A Thousand. Several thoughts as I was reading:
1) reading genre may have unfitted me for reading mainstram, because even if this has trickster Chinese foxes (who can animate dead bodies when they don't feel like doing the whole transformation shebang in order to seduce scholars), and 9th century women poets and Wu Zetian- though I'm not sure why her: she's just there for a chapter- this is still poetic mainstream lit rather than fantasy or historical fiction. As this outline makes clear.
2) there's a kind of amateurishness to all the Canlit I know, even Robertson Davies and any Atwood I've read. Can't define it exactly, but I know the tone when I hear it. Fox read exactly the same as my friends' first novels back in university, at least at the start. Well, it *is* a first novel; there may be a family resemblance at work. But American first novels read different.
3) am envious at how easily these women in Vancouver in '89 (book is backset a few years) just start casual affairs with any woman they meet. It wasn't like that in TO in the 80s, let me tell you.
4) I like that the scholars the fox goes after are usually women-- a nice twist; but I was convinced that at least one of the present-day women had to be Fox up to her old habits and I couldn't figure which. They all seemed to be pretty bad news, including the main character. And a whole bunch of threads got dropped, or seemed to-- but maybe that was Fox again, having reached a thousand and now an Immortal herself, just playing around.
What are you reading now?
Wilce, Flora's Dare, taking longer than I'd thought because of the weather, no really. Icy snowy Christmases are so rare these days.
What will you read next?
The new Pratchett, finally, after dinner and presents tonight.