Paper Menageries Review. The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories is a masterpiece by bestselling author Ken Liu. His groundbreaking written collection is added by this piece of gem, which many of you have already glimpsed part of in the Netflix original series Love, Death, and Robots.
Ken Liu has garnered quite a reputation for his short stories. His stories introduce new concepts and take one on an adventure they were not expecting. You end up feeling melancholic but enjoy the pieces in the end.
His latest multiple award-winning book, The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories, begins with The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species. The title itself lures you in. There is much more. One example is of a short story about how different alien species make books. A charming story sets the perfect mood for you to sift through the pages for more.
The imagination of the author will surprise you but also make you feel the things that the characters feel, while never in your wildest thoughts did you think anything like in these stories could be relatable.
Another example is Good Hunting. Good Hunting is a story about the laying of brand new railroad tracks in a land that is filled with magic, only that the induction and use of machines take it away.
The Waves is a story about a generational ship that offers the earth a formula for eternal life.
Fascinating stories, right?
The Paper Menagerie is the title piece for a reason. It will make you think, feel, and even tear up in a powerful way. The story is narrated from the point of view of the son of a Chinese mail order bride who is wed to an American. The son reminisces on his time growing up where his fondest memory is of his mother making origami animals that would move on their own.
The story unveils as a relationship between children, parents, and what immigration is like for families in America. It has won the World Fantasy, Nebula, and the Hugo award.
The author has been careful in ensuring that all pieces do not stick to a single genre. Part of the short stories are historical fictions such as The Litigation Master and the Monkey King, the Literomancer, and All the Flavors.
Ken Liu goes beyond just exploring a few genres. The Man Who Ended History is a short story but also a documentary and even entirely science fiction.
Since some of the short stories leave such an impression with a reader, Liu is the enemy of his own work by setting the bar too high for some of his lesser works to seem, well, lesser, compared to the best stories.
For instance, The Regular is a noir crime thriller that does not feel like a new story at all. It is about a PI who is investigating the serial murder of prostitutes. Similarly, The Perfect Match is about a dystopian world in the future where corporations guide us. Similar pieces are Mono No Aware, Simulacrum, and State Change.
The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories are thought-provoking to the core. The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories is a collection of fifteen short stories picked out from a list of seventy that were written in a course of twelve years.
The book almost maps out the underlying things in society that we don’t see at first glimpse, or more accurately choose not to see. Liu reminds us to look again, holding our hand as we face the gore, the love, the feelings we ignore.
Stories have been how we have always talked to each other. Since the dawn of time, we have used stories as ways to make a point, teach a lesson, stamp victories, and document mistakes. The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu does the same, and we are glad that he did.
Liu is one of the most lauded authors in modern literature. He has won several praises and awards for his work, including the Nebula Award, World Fantasy, Lous Sidewise, as well as plenty of Science Fiction and Fantasy book translations.
Ken Liu was nominated for Locus and Sturgeon award, where this book, The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories, became the first work in history to win three prizes at the same time. The author’s debut novel was The Grace of Kings, which was an epic fantasy universe created by him and his wife.
The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories is available on Amazon for $10 in paperback copy and $10.01 in hardcover.
People have already been talking about The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories. It is provocative and unpredictable. This is what many others have to say about the short story collection.
You will be startled but also satisfied. It is dark and edgy but soft and endearing where it needs to be. The book is like opposites in every short story.
In a literary world where you feel deeply saturated by repetitive ideas and plots, some pieces remind you why you love to read, The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories is one such book.
Ken Liu is not afraid to speak of the unfortunate unfairness of history of the other side of the story, which no one sees because some narratives remain invisible to us our entire lives.
You will be moved by Liu’s narrative of love and equal unexplainable cruelty between family. There are things we would rather not face as people, but The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories tell them in a way that touches you, makes you cry, but also does not make you hate the author.
Ken Liu makes you feel again, and it feels vulnerable in a right way. Every single story will strike a chord with you in a way that will be unique to you, and you will not be able to explain it to another. Your recommendation should be “just read it”. That is the magic of The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories.