by Chen Xue

Translated by Jeremy Tiang

Originally published by Rye Field Publications, Taipei, 2015 (440 pages)

World rights available



We spy on the inhabitants of a New Taipei City skyscraper:  the barista waiting for her past to catch up with her, the romantic novelist unable to leave her flat, the business man who keeps his wife and mistress in separate towers of this complex.  When beautiful Mabel Chung is murdered, we see that this community might not be as functional as it believes.  Who was the killer – the security guard who had a crush on her?  The man she was having an affair with, or his pregnant wife?  The brother who shared her abusive past?  As the investigation continues, it becomes clear that everyone’s secrets will have to be revealed, in order to get to the truth.

A story told in fragments and glimpses, this novel is both a well-observed depiction of atomized modern life, and a gripping thriller in which we see how apartment living requires us to place a great deal of trust in people we don’t know all that well.  Each chapter is narrated from a different person’s point of view, while the skyscraper itself comes across as a character in its own right, pulsing with a personality that dwarfs the 3,000 humans who inhabit it.



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