Friday, February 16, 2018

Book Brief: Cranes by Michael Gouda

craneTitle ~ Cranes

Author ~ Michael Gouda

Publisher ~ MLR Press 

Published ~ 6th January 2018

Genre ~ M/M Romance, Historical/Contemporary





This is the story of the ancient Chinese poet, Wen Long's search for his male beloved. He has been shown in a dream that there is a legend whereby true loves are fastened together by a red cord however far apart they may be. Many and dangerous are the adventures he encounters and occasionally he is almost led astray.

But this story, as illustrated on an antique Chinese fan is interpreted by an antique dealer who is trying to sell the fan to a customer. Thus events happening back in the Tang Dynasty under the Empress Wu are not always as they seem. The story is divided between what actually happens and the dealer's comments. There is also a twist in the tale.


Freya’s Review

A lady goes into an antiques shop, wanting something special. The wily old owner directs her towards a Chinese fan. Enamoured with the object, the shopkeeper continues to tell the tale of the life of Wen Long, the man depicted on the fan.

This story is a tale of two interpretations. One, by the owner of the shop. The other supposedly from the era of the characters – AD 684 – or is it just another possible version of events. Either way, one seems more realistic than the other.

In one version, the shop owner tells the lady a story that is a combination of the pictures from the fan and his imagination. The other setting starts with Wen Long being promised in marriage to a girl in a neighbouring village. Wen Long isn’t enthusiastic as his desires do not lie with the female form. He is a poet and writes of a man he has great affection for but has not met - Zhui Ji. Thus, he chooses to leave his village in search of his love. It becomes an adventure of lust, confrontation, pain, and heroics.

The story regularly switches between the shop and China, which I occasionally found distracting. However, the scene setting is visually and sensually, atmospheric. And I loved the idea that a red cord joins a person to their true love. Also, I found some of the ancient elements, utterly delightful. Keeping in mind that this short story is billed as contemporary, historical, and humorous, it came with little surprise that intimate body parts were referred to as bamboo stick, and melons etc. At times this was sweet, others annoying – albeit consistent. An erection was billed as a massive accomplishment.

The ending was one that I would class as marmite. It was unexpected and cheeky. It will depend on how your heart interprets the rest of the tale as to whether you will think, ‘what a brilliant ending,’ or ‘WTF’.

Purchase Links



fancy historic

Connect with Michael Gouda


No comments:

Post a Comment