The secret talker : a novel

by Yan, Geling,

Format: Print Book 2021
Availability: Available at 7 Libraries 7 of 10 copies
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Summary

A NEW YORK TIMES "GLOBETROTTING" PICK!

THE MILLIONS MOST ANTICIPATED

A woman reclaims her own story in this taut and wholly original literary tale from one of China's literary superstars.

Hongmei is the perfect Chinese wife: beautiful, diligent, passive. Glen is the perfect American husband: intelligent, caring, well-off. From the outside, Hongmei and Glen's life in the San Francisco Bay Area seems perfect. But at home, their marriage is falling apart. Post-its left on the fridge are their primary form of communication.

When Hongmei receives a beguiling email from a secret admirer, naturally she's intrigued. But what starts out as harmless flirting with an internet stranger quickly turns into an all-consuming emotional affair. As Hongmei spills more and more about her dark past as a military intelligence officer-in-training in China, she falls deeper and deeper into a tense cat-and-mouse game. Desperate and self-destructive, she embarks on an investigation into her emailer's secret history...one that may tear her life and marriage apart forever.

A psychological story at its core, The Secret Talker elegantly examines how repressed desire and simmering silence can upend even the most idyllic marriage. As Hongmei pursues her stalker, her identity and agency come into question, and the chase curveballs into a captivating journey of self-actualization. Yan Geling pierces the human psyche to reveal devastating and emotional truths - and an ending that will leave readers speechless.



Translated from the Chinese by Jeremy Tiang

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Conflate "secret" and "talker" and you'll land on "stalker"--which is what "this stranger on the internet" proves to be in author and screenwriter Yan's latest Anglophoned novel, English-enabled by award-winning Singaporean writer and translator Tiang. Originally published in Chinese in 2004 means well before the ubiquity of all-revealing social media, leaving the would-be stalker and (not-quite) victim to communicate via email. After dinner out with her husband, Qiao Hongmei receives an anonymous missive revealing that the sender has "evidently . . . taken note of her every move and gesture." She's more flattered than alarmed, noting "his tone was a little presumptuous, but she liked his writing style, almost like a blend of Neil Gaiman and Emily Brontë." Their exchange continues: encouraged by the secret talker's own confessions, Hongmei readily divulges intimacies, from betraying her current husband with her former spouse, her abortions, her growing malaise. Only the stranger's observations seem to penetrate Hongmei's tiresome self-absorption to guide her toward some semblance of self-awareness. Alas, this tale is unnecessarily coy for being rather obvious, and, sadly, tedious."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Qiao Hongmei, the heroine of this riveting tale of suspense from Yan (The Lost Daughter of Happiness), met Glen, her professor husband, years ago as a student in an English class he was teaching in Beijing. The two are now married and live in California, where he still teaches and she's finishing her PhD thesis. One morning, Hongmei receives an anonymous email from someone who saw her at a restaurant the previous evening while she was dining with Glen and another couple. Vaguely dissatisfied with her marriage, Hongmei begins to correspond with her "secret talker," revealing details of her early life in China that she has never disclosed to anyone and letting her long-repressed regrets come to the surface. The tone of the secret talker becomes gradually more alarming and even threatening: "you brought this on yourself. You can't escape now. Invasion always hurts a little." Yan's pacing is impeccable as she delicately but inexorably builds toward a thought-provoking finale. Readers of tense literary fiction will find much to like. Agent: Marysia Juszczakiewicz, Peony Literary. (May)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Asian American women -- Fiction.
Married people -- Fiction.
Secrecy -- Fiction.
Social media -- Fiction.
California -- Fiction.
Psychological fiction.
Publisher New York, NY :2021
Edition First edition.
Other Titles Mi yu zhe.
Contributors Tiang, Jeremy, translator.
Language English
Notes Translation of: Mi yu zhe.
Description 151 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN 9780063004030
0063004038
9780063004047
0063004046
Other Classic View