UFO in Her Eyes

Xiaolu Guo

UFO in Her Eyes

Silver Hill Village, 2012. On the twentieth day of the seventh moon Kwok Yun is making her way across the rice fields on her Flying Pigeon bicycle. Her world is upturned when she sights a UFThing - a spinning plate in the sky - and helps the Westerner in distress whom she discovers in the shadow of the alien craft. It's not long before the village is crawling with men from the National Security and Intelligence Agency armed with pointed questions. And when the Westerner that Kwok Yun saved repays her kindness with a large dollar cheque she becomes a local celebrity, albeit under constant surveillance. As UFO Hotels spring up, and the local villagers go out of business, Xiaolu Guo's startling parable of change imagines an uneasy future for rural China and its relations not only with Beijing but the wider world beyond. 2.9 out of 5 based on 5 reviews
UFO in Her Eyes

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre General Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Format Hardback
Pages 208
RRP £12.99
Date of Publication February 2009
ISBN 978-0701183356
Publisher Chatto & Windus
 

Silver Hill Village, 2012. On the twentieth day of the seventh moon Kwok Yun is making her way across the rice fields on her Flying Pigeon bicycle. Her world is upturned when she sights a UFThing - a spinning plate in the sky - and helps the Westerner in distress whom she discovers in the shadow of the alien craft. It's not long before the village is crawling with men from the National Security and Intelligence Agency armed with pointed questions. And when the Westerner that Kwok Yun saved repays her kindness with a large dollar cheque she becomes a local celebrity, albeit under constant surveillance. As UFO Hotels spring up, and the local villagers go out of business, Xiaolu Guo's startling parable of change imagines an uneasy future for rural China and its relations not only with Beijing but the wider world beyond.

Reviews

The Guardian

Maya Jaggi

Its interview format makes it a sometimes frustrating halfway house between novel and screenplay... Yet there is relief in the simplicity of the peasants' speech. Yun recalls an epiphany beside the pond: "a full moon rose in the east, and I saw my reflection in the water. A breeze came and broke my image, then slowly it formed again. I realised I was leaving this place, and, for the first time in my life that I can remember, tears came to my eyes." It is in such revelations of loss and pain, in silences like those of the ostracised bicycle mender homesick for the snowy Korean border, that the novel resonates.

14/02/2009

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The Scotsman

Stuart Kelly

The comedy is neatly poised; with neither the modern multiplexed suburb nor the old-fashioned poverty-stricken backwater seeming like a viable community. Along the way there are caustic little caricatures... [It] is less emotionally engaging than Guo's previous novel, 20 Fragments Of A Ravenous Youth ... Only in the final pages is there a nasty, revelatory twist that undermines the surreal rhetoric of modernity and improvement.

15/02/2009

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The Financial Times

Rosie Blau

Like the female protagonists of Guo’s last two novels, Silver Hill village is suddenly growing up fast. And the message is the same: accelerated change brings dislocation. The flaw, however, is that Guo doesn’t trust her reader to get the point. She shouts her message: that we are rushing into the future, unheeding of all that is lost. And by pressing her moral, she diminishes her story.

02/03/2009

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The Daily Telegraph

Toby Clements

The treatment is lively enough, with some lovely comic touches, but ultimately this is a warning about the perils of modernisation and, frankly, who needs that? With everybody – even the Chinese government – seemingly waking up to see what a mess we’re making of our planet, this gentle alert seems too little too late. Where it is not pointless, then it is certainly patronising.

03/04/2009

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The Times

Neel Mukherjee

Guo's humour is bracingly ironic and tinderbox dry: yet the book is let down by the disproportionate weighting given to the formal high jinks in which the tired content - the unbridgeable gap between centre and margin, the destruction of old ways of life in the name of progress - comes sheathed. Elaborately designed to simulate a ring-bound folder of interviews, complete with memos, paperclips, reports, tags, ID numbers, lists, official documents, the book's form seems a superfluous and diversionary tactic that ends up giving it a damaging imbalance.

27/02/2009

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