John Lee is a migrant from Beijing who has lived in Auckland for three decades. Formerly a librarian, he leads an increasingly lonely and misanthropic life, reduced to selling second-hand goods, and living in a marriage of convenience with his disabled wife, whom he treats with contempt. When he becomes infatuated with a young student who lodges in their house, and puts his life savings behind a scheme to export powdered milk to China, the dubious balance with which he has held his life together comes apart, and feelings of alienation and humiliation turn to violent obsession.
Dry Milk is a work of fiction that gives, through its unmoored narrator, a uniquely dark perspective on Antipodean culture. The story of an immigrant alienated from his new home, both its New Zealand and Chinese communities, Huo Yan’s novella is a stark portrait of social isolation, and of the experience of some of those who left China after the Cultural Revolution.
ISBN : 9781925336993
pp : 112
Published : July 2019