by Meiyan Jin, Liu Yu-Wen
Ghost Town, the best-selling novel by Kevin Chen, tells the story of the protagonist, Keith Chen, who has just returned to Yongjing, the rural village where he grew up in Taiwan. Through the voices of both the living and the dead, the story narrates the series of events following a murder by the protagonist.
The novel won the 2020 TLA Annual Golden Grand Laurel Award, and has been translated into many languages - including English, by Darryl Sterk in 2022, with the sponsorship of the Ministry of Culture. The English version of the novel has received international critical acclaim, from outlets such as the New York Times , NPR, BookPage, and Library Journal’s Best of World Literature 2022.
In the New York Times , one of the most influential book review publications, Peter C. Baker describes the novel as “the literary equivalent of a suitcase jammed full to the point of bursting. Open the case up even a little bit and the dirty laundry starts spilling out.”
Leland Cheuk from NPR book reviews describes the novel as “reminiscent of the dreamlike narratives of Can Zue and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Ghost Town is a maximalist performance that often walks the fine line between echoic and repetitive and is simply tough to put down.”
Laura Sackton from BookPage praised the novel, saying it “is full of gauzy prose and dark imagery, and Darryl Sterk’s translation has a dreamlike quality.”
Ghost Town by Kevin Chen