Flèche

Earlier this month, my review of Mary Jean Chan’s Flèche was published in HKRB!

HONG KONG REVIEW OF BOOKS 香港書評

May Huang reviews a celebrated debut collection of poetry by the Hong Kong writer Mary Jean Chan.

Mary Jean Chan, Flèche (Faber & Faber), 78pp.

The word “flèche,” after which Mary Jean Chan’s debut poetry collection takes its name, contains multitudes: the “flèche” is an offensive technique used to surprise an opponent in fencing, a sport that Chan competed in as a teenager living in Hong Kong. As a duel between two opponents, fencing is a particularly apt metaphor for the clashing beliefs and languages in Chan’s book. “Flèche” also evokes desire and kinship (one’s “flesh and blood”): two central themes in Chan’s writing about her sexuality, her relationship with her mother and how her and her mother’s narratives are intertwined. In other words, Chan has picked a perfect title, one that is as expansive and evocative as the poems that it encompasses.

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