Set in modern-day Montreal, Celia, Misoka, I is the poignant story of a middle-aged Chinese man who has been living in the city for fifteen years. After the death of his wife, he begins to reflect on his past and how he has ended up alone in Canada, a solitary member of the Chinese diaspora. It is in this period of angst and uncertainty, during the most unusual of winters, that he meets two women by Beaver Lake, on Montreal’s Mount Royal. They, too, have their own stories: stories of their own personal plights, which connect the slopes of Mount Royal at dawn to distant China.
The distinct paths taken by these three characters — Celia, Misoka, and “I” — span continents and decades, but, whether by chance or design, converge in Montreal, like mysterious figures in an ancient Chinese Zen painting. After coming together, the three begin to examine who they are, where they might belong, and how to navigate otherness and identity in a globalized world.
A RARE MACHINES BOOK
"Hugely gifted, Xue Yiwei is a fresh and most distinctive voice in contemporary Chinese literature. I recommend him highly." — Jung Chang, author of Wild Swan
"Xue Yiwei is a maverick in contemporary Chinese literature. He stays alone and aloof, far away from restive crowds back in his homeland. For him, to write is to make a pilgrimage to his masters: Joyce, Bordes, Calvino, Proust. As an admirer of his, I salute his courage, his stamina, and his love of solitude." — Ha Jin, National Book Award-winning novelist