Monday, September 8, 2014

Ed Lin

Ed Lin is the author of several books and is an all-around standup kinda guy. Waylaid and This Is a Bust were both published by Kaya Press in 2002 and 2007, respectively, and both were widely praised. Both also won the Members’ Choice Awards in the Asian American Literary Awards. His third book, Snakes Can’t Run, was published by Minotaur Books in April 2010; it was loved by many and also won an Asian American Literary Award, and was followed by in One Red Bastard 2012. Lin, who is of Taiwanese and Chinese descent, is the first author to win three Asian American Literary Awards.

Lin's new novel is Ghost Month.

From the author's Q & A with Anna Wu for Taiwanese

Anna Wu: Hi Ed. Could you tell us a bit about your novel, Ghost Month?

Ed Lin: My latest novel Ghost Month was published by Soho Crime, actually near the start of Ghost Month, the seventh lunar month in late July, a time of year the gates to the underworld open and ghosts are free to roam the earth. It is a Taipei-based mystery and basically, this guy named Jing-nan who works at the Shilin Night Market finds out that this girl that he’s loved his whole life and planned to marry was murdered, and he goes and tries to find out how she was killed and who killed her.

It’s also a bit of a meditation on the state of Taiwan, because there is a small faction that wants eventual or soon-ish “reunion,” (I say in quotes), with China. And another faction wants to declare independence immediately, but most people actually favor the status quo right now, this sort of strange kind of independence. But, you know, the status quo kind of means something different to everybody, and I just wanted to really be as inclusive as possible in terms of how people feel.

A: When did you first start working on this book? What inspired it?

E: I started working on this book maybe two and a half years ago. I had written a series on a Chinese American cop set in 1976 in New York, and just in the course of that, just doing the research into the state of Chinese America in 1976, I naturally sort of looked to my own family, and just looked at my own roots, and I’ve never really had a chance to explore fictionally the sort of Taiwanese part of my identity. My father’s family is from Taiwan, they arrived there shortly after the Ming Dynasty fell apart [in the 1600s].

My mom was from Northern China, and she was part of the waishengren [the large migration of "mainlander" Chinese to Taiwan in the 1940s and 50s]. She essentially grew up in Taiwan. So over the years, she has come to believe herself that Taiwan should be independent. [Laughs.] But it’s funny. Her siblings, most of her family, believe the opposite and believe that Taiwan is part of China. I just wonder if it’s just one of these ongoing things that will never be resolved.

The thing is about Taiwan is that...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Ed Lin's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Snakes Can't Run.

The Page 69 Test: One Red Bastard.

My Book, The Movie: Ghost Month.

Writers Read: Ed Lin.

--Marshal Zeringue