Yan Ge has authored thirteen books written in Chinese, working across a range of genres and subjects. Now, Yan Ge transposes her storytelling onto another linguistic landscape. A young woman bonds with an encampment of poets after a devastating earthquake. Against her better judgment, a college student begins to fall for an acquaintance who might be dead. And a Confucian disciple returns to the Master bearing a jar full of grisly remains. Weaving between reality and dreamy surreality, these nine stories wend toward elsewhere, a comforting, frustrating, just-out-of-reach place familiar to anyone who has ever experienced longing.
Ge has lived in Britain and Ireland, and the collection captures the spirit of both her birthplace and her adopted homes in a variety of registers. The stories set here have a whiff of autofiction to them, but transcend their origins with style and wit ... It’s Ge’s stories set in China that are the most formally adventurous ... Struck by the quality of writing irrespective of its setting, we wonder what we have been missing in Ge’s earlier, untranslated fiction.
A short story collection can be a great vehicle for showcasing different styles and forms, and so it is with Yan Ge’s Elsewhere ... There is an impressive range to the nine stories in her collection ... A collection of depth and dimension. The spare, limpid prose style in many of the stories allows for moments of strong emotional impact.