Michael Aiken reviews Ouyang Yu

Posted: 11/02/2016 by vequinox in Literature

To Koskino

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Fainting with Freedom
by Ouyang Yu

Five Islands Press, 2015

Ouyang Yu is a prolific writer whose combination of occupations – poet, novelist, translator, academic – gives some context to this book’s obsessive engagement with word, language and meaning. His biographical note mentions that he came to Australia at the age of 35, and there’s a pervasive trope in Fainting with Freedom of a stranger-in-a-strange-land’s curiosity for the materiality of language and its malleability: something akin to what Kerouac once alluded to when he described his relationship to English – a language he didn’t learn until he was eight – as a tool he could very consciously manipulate as necessary for effect and meaning. For Yu, this fascination is not limited to the experiences of a foreigner acculturating to a new socio-linguistic circumstance, but goes much further and deeper (presumably due in part to or concomitant with his work as…

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