Author(s): Ming-Yi Wu
On Wayo-wayo, a fictional island in the South Pacific, every second son has to sail into the wide sea as sacrifice to the Sea God on the day he turns fifteen. Atile'i is one such boy. Being the strongest swimmer and best sailor on the island, he sets out to defy destiny. His journey takes him across the ocean to a vast and strange island, one which is built of material he's never seen before and devoid of any signs of life. Hungry and barely surviving, Atile'i believes that this is Hell. In 2020, tourism and careless development have severely damaged Taiwan's east coast, but a larger threat is coming. Alice, a literary professor who has lost her husband and son in a mountain accident, quietly contemplates committing suicide in her seaside home. Her plan is put on hold when news vans and helicopters from all over the world arrive on the beach to behold the catastrophe of the century: a trash vortex several times the size of Taiwan comes crashing on the shore. Amidst the chaos, Alice saves the unconscious Atile'i. They escape into the mountain, taking shelter at a hunting lodge. An unusual bond is formed as they struggle to understand each other's language and culture. Accompanied by Atile'i, Alice retraces her late husband's footsteps, hoping to solve the mystery of her son's disappearance. The dark secret she discovers will force her to question everything she believes in.
A Taiwanese Life of Pi
Wu Ming-Yi (b.1971) is a Taiwanese writer, painter, designer, photographer, literary professor, butterfly scholar, environmental activist, traveler and blogger. His literary reputation was first established by his nature writing. His debut novel, Routes in the Dream (2007) re-imagines Taiwan's complicated history as a Japanese colony and examines the relationship between fathers and sons, memory and dreams. Hailed as a groundbreaking work of literary historical fiction, it was nominated for every major award and was chosen as one of the ten best Chinese-language novels of the year by Asian Weekly magazine. Wu was the only Taiwanese writer on the list. The Man with the Compound Eyes is his second novel but the first to be translated into English.