Wednesday, July 18, 2018

R. F. Kuang

Rebecca F. Kuang studies modern Chinese history. She has a BA from Georgetown University and is currently a graduate student in the United Kingdom on a Marshall Scholarship.

Kuang's new book, her debut novel, is The Poppy War.

From Kuang's Q&A with Ilana C. Myer at the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog:

The horrors of war as depicted in this book hit especially hard because they are based on real events. In most fantasy, including of the “grimdark” variety, we can tell ourselves that at least it’s fiction. Here, the impact is more intense because we know such things happened. Do you think this makes sense? What were your thoughts and feelings when tackling this material?

The reason why I haven’t been calling it grimdark is because I tend to see grimdark as employing violence and death as aesthetic, while The Poppy War employs violence for historical accuracy. There’s also this element of fetishism and gratuitous gore in (some, not all) grimdark that I don’t love. I think violence should serve a purpose other than making the book seem “edgy.” As an aside, a few people have mentioned that the violence and darkness in TPW is more harrowing precisely because we know that all of this actually happened. I didn’t exaggerate anything. Everything on the page–everything about the Rape of Nanjing or the atrocities committed by Unit 731–was...[read on]
Visit R. F. Kuang's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Poppy War.

Writers Read: R. F. Kuang.

--Marshal Zeringue