“Cult Classic of Taiwanese Lesbian Literature” Now Excerpted In English, Available Online

Rachel’s Team Pick:

Qiu Miaojin was a Taiwanese novelist who Wikipedia describes as having had an “unapologetically lesbian sensibility;” her novel Notes of a Crocodile is described as a “cult classic of Taiwanese lesbian literature.” Now you can read an excerpt of her Chinese-language novel for the first time in English, translated by Bonnie Huie for The Brooklyn Rail. It is beautiful and I think you will enjoy it!

In the past, I believed that every man carried in him the innate prototype of a woman, and that he would love the woman who most resembled this prototype. Although I am a woman, I also share this prototype of a woman.

My prototype of a woman was the type who would appear in hallucinations at the last moments of your freezing to death at the top of an icy mountain, a mythical beauty who blurred the line between dreams and reality. For four years, that’s what I believed. And I wasted all of my university days–during which I had the most courage and honesty I would ever have towards life–because of it.

I don’t believe it anymore. It’s like the impromptu sketch of a street artist, a little drawing taped to my wall. When I finally learned to leave it behind, I gradually stopped believing it, and in doing so, sold an entire collection of priceless treasures for next to nothing. It was then that I realized I should leave behind some sort of record before the entire vial of my memories ran dry. I knew that these feelings would vanish one day, as if they had been only a dream, and that the list of what had been bought and sold–and at what price–would never be recovered.

feature image and in-post image both via captureddreams.tumblr.com

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. Oh!!! This has been my secret sideline translation project for a while, and now someone else has really done it. I’m glad, this book really needs an English-language voice. Hurray for accessible Taiwanese lesbian literature!

  2. !!!!!!!!!!!!
    Seeing this on Autostraddle just made my day.
    I currently own all of her books (in Chinese of course), and they are so complex yet so good. I especially love the book that she wrote before passing away (sadly, she committed suicide at 26), it’s so heartbreaking and hurts in some way just by reading her words.

  3. This was beautiful. I really want to read the rest of the book now- hopefully it gets translated in full one day.

  4. Pingback: Link Round Up « The Lesbrary

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