The Man with the Compound Eyes: A Novel

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When a tsunami sends a massive island made entirely of trash crashing into the Taiwanese coast, two very different people—an outcast from a mythical island and a woman on the verge of suicide—are united in ways they never could have imagined. Here is the English-language debut of a new and exciting award-winning voice from Taiwan, who has written an “astonishing” novel (The Independent) that is at once fantasy, reality, and dystopian environmental saga.

Fifteen-year-old Atile’i—a native of Wayo Wayo, an island somewhere in the Pacific—has come of age. Following the custom of his people, he is set adrift as a sacrifice to the Sea God but, unlike those who have gone before him, Atile’i is determined to defy precedent and survive. His chances seem slim, but just as it appears that hope is lost, Atile’i comes across a sprawling trash vortex floating in the ocean and climbs onto it.

Meanwhile, on the east coast of Taiwan, Alice, a college professor, is overcome with grief. Her husband and son are missing, having disappeared while hiking in the mountains near their home. Alice is so distraught that she decides to end her own life. But her plans are interrupted by a violent storm that causes the trash vortex to collide with the Taiwanese coast, bringing Atile’i along with it. Alice and Atile’i subsequently form an unlikely friendship that helps each of them come to terms with what they have lost. Together they set out to uncover the mystery of Alice’s lost family, following their footsteps into the mountains. Intertwined with Alice and Atile’i’s story are the lives of others affected by the tsunami, from environmentalists to Taiwan’s indigenous peoples—and, of course, the mysterious man with the compound eyes.

A work of lyrical beauty that combines magical realism and environmental fable, The Man with the Compound Eyes is an incredible story about the bonds of family, the meaning of love, and the lasting effects of human destruction.
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About the author

Wu Ming-Yi was born in 1971 in Taiwan, where he still lives. A writer, artist, professor, and environmental activist, he has been teaching literature and creative writing at National Dong Hwa University since 2000 and is now a professor in the Department of Chinese. Wu is the author of two books of nature writing, the second of which, The Way of Butterflies, was awarded the China Times Open Book Award in 2003. His debut novel, Routes in the Dream, was named one of the ten best Chinese-language novels of the year by Asian Weekly magazine. The Man with the Compound Eyes is his first book to be translated into English.




From the Hardcover edition.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Vintage
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Published on
May 20, 2014
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9780307907974
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Literary
Fiction / Science Fiction / General
Fiction / Visionary & Metaphysical
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Longlisted, Man Booker International Prize, 2018

Six-time Winner of the China Times Open Book Award and ‘Author of the Year’, Eslite Bookstore

A writer embarks on an epic quest in search of his missing father’s stolen bicycle and soon finds himself caught up in the strangely intertwined stories of Lin Wang, the oldest elephant who ever lived, the soldiers who fought in the jungles of South-East Asia during the Second World War and the secret worlds of the butterfly handicraft makers and antique bicycle fanatics of Taiwan.

The Stolen Bicycle is both a majestic historical novel and a profound, startlingly intimate meditation on memory, family and home.

Award-winning novelist Wu Ming-Yi is also an artist, designer, photographer, literary professor, butterfly scholar, environmental activist, traveller and blogger, and is widely considered the leading writer of his generation in his native Taiwan.

A long-time resident of Taipei, Darryl Sterk has interests in Taiwan’s local literature and indigenous cultures. He translated the first of Wu Ming-Yi’s novels to be published in English, The Man with the Compound Eyes.

Taiwan Literary Award, 2015 (Taiwan)
China Times Open Book Award (Six-time winner, including 2015) (Taiwan)
Eslite Bookseller Award for Author of the Year, 2015 (Taiwan)
Dream of the Red Chamber Award, Judge Recommendation 2016 (Hong Kong)
UDN Grand Literary Award, 2016 (Taiwan)
Publishers Weekly International Hot Book Properties, 2015
Turnaround Favourite Fiction of 2017

‘A work of astonishing energy, in which Wu beautifully touches on loss, life and death, fate and destiny, establishing emotional connections between memory and objects, and between the natural world and war... a novel that provides comfort and reconciliation from a wounded past.’ Thinking Taiwan

‘The novel, inspired by his love for bicycles and Taiwanese history, brings readers back to a simpler time when life moved more slowly and people spent more time face-to-face with friends and neighbors. Riding a bike allowed people to appreciate and digest the details of the world around them.’ Taipei Times

‘A profoundly moving novel, such is the power of words and depth of feeling by Taiwanese author Wu Ming-Yi...He turns events into linguistic gold with his poetic, dreamlike language.’ Good Reading

‘A visionary ride through flame-scorched lands and machine-clutching trees and metamorphoses into metal and earth..."World is crazier and more of it than we think,/Incorrigibly plural", Louis MacNeice wrote...Multiply that by 10 or so and you get some sense of Wu’s astonishing, often-affecting kaleidoscope.’ NZ Listener

‘Unusual insights and vividly observed detail abound in this witty and sensitive story.’ Toowoomba Chronicle

‘Beautifully written and beautifully translated. . . . [Ming-Yi] guides us to see the entirety of experience as bumping flotsam in an unending ocean of life colliding and making a mess of things or making something new. . . . Lyric, simple, soft, the story crests and recedes and comes back again.’ The Bloomington Sun-Current

‘Offering a heady dose of realism, surrealism, and magic realism, with several shots of allegory, award-winning Chinese author Wu [Ming-Yi] offers a work for ‘literary fiction’ readers, but not in the snobbish sense. It’s really for any curious, intelligent reader.’ STARRED review, Library Journal

‘The authors uses conversation, flashbacks of memory, war diaries, memoir and voice recordings to create a network of literary tributaries in bringing together this ambitious, far-reaching narrative that touches so many unique aspects of Taiwan’s history, culture, development and influences.’ Word by Word

In this enchanting sequel to the number one bestseller The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom tells the story of Eddie’s heavenly reunion with Annie—the little girl he saved on earth—in an unforgettable novel of how our lives and losses intersect.

Fifteen years ago, in Mitch Albom’s beloved novel, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, the world fell in love with Eddie, a grizzled war veteran- turned-amusement park mechanic who died saving the life of a young girl named Annie. Eddie’s journey to heaven taught him that every life matters. Now, in this magical sequel, Mitch Albom reveals Annie’s story.

The accident that killed Eddie left an indelible mark on Annie. It took her left hand, which needed to be surgically reattached. Injured, scarred, and unable to remember why, Annie’s life is forever changed by a guilt-ravaged mother who whisks her away from the world she knew. Bullied by her peers and haunted by something she cannot recall, Annie struggles to find acceptance as she grows. When, as a young woman, she reconnects with Paulo, her childhood love, she believes she has finally  found happiness.

As the novel opens, Annie is marrying Paulo. But when her wedding night day ends in an unimaginable accident, Annie finds herself on her own heavenly journey—and an inevitable reunion with Eddie, one of the five people who will show her how her life mattered in ways she could not have fathomed.

Poignant and beautiful, filled with unexpected twists, The Next Person You Meet in Heaven reminds us that not only does every life matter, but that every ending is also a beginning—we only need to open our eyes to see it.

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