The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories

The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories - Ken Liu I don't usually read short fiction but last semester, I was exposed to them through my Philippine Literature class. There I was able to read works by Nick Joaquin who happens to write stories that have magical realism. It was because of those stories that I wanted to read more short fiction. This too is a story about magical realism. In addition, this is one of the stories that managed to make me cry. I know I'm late to this one as it already won awards but I did love the story.

I thoroughly enjoyed the depiction here of the Chinese mail-order bride and her son. He was basically her pride and joy- that much was obvious, practically the only one she could truly understand and understands her. Unfortunately, kids grow up. They rebel and decide that they don't want to be their parents or that they're ashamed of them. This is a story about how that boy grew up, made mistakes, and had to face his regrets. This is a story about a mother who had to face the fact that not only was her child growing up but also that influences around him place him outside her reach.

The ending of the story was cathartic. It was heartbreaking and beautifully poignant. At the same time, it brought a sort of relief due to the way it wrapped up. If you haven't read it yet, it's available on io9 to read and it's worth it.

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