Posted in Short Stories

Ken Liu: The Paper Menagerie

Folding the creases, I refolded the paper back into Laohu. I cradled him in the crook of my arm, and as he purred, we began the walk home.

I’ve heard quite a lot about Ken Liu’s short story “The Paper Menagerie”. I plan on reading all of the short stories in Liu’s collection The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories but to start, I went right to the title story and I wasn’t disappointed.

This is one of the best uses of magical realism I’ve read. The magical part gives it a gentle feeling that perfectly tempers the harsh realism. Jack, the protagonist, suffers the harsh regret of realizing how much he hurt his mother while growing up. He also comes to the gentle realization of how much his mother loved him in spite of this. This realization might come too late but if one is discovering the truth, maybe it doesn’t matter when it’s discovered. Maybe that’s what is magical.

This one’s a favorite.

I plan to post about the rest of the stories in this collection as I read them, but I highly recommend at least finding this one and reading it.

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