by Viola Di Grado
From one of Italy’s most electrifying voices, a fearless story of queer love and obsession set against the glassy surfaces of Shanghai.
“Blue Hunger is irresistible, evocative, dripping with desire, and brilliantly written-Viola Di Grado is a genius.” – Jami Attenberg
After her twin’s death, a solitary young woman leaves Rome for Shanghai, the city where her brother Ruben had long dreamed of opening a restaurant. Teaching Italian to Chinese students, she meets a mysterious girl named Xu, who is also running from a turbulent past: a violent father, an absent mother, and an extended family who wishes she’d been a boy. Xu’s house is dingy and full of rotting food, like a museum of decomposing organic matter. In the gloom of abandoned textile factories and dilapidated slaughterhouses, the two discover an extreme dimension where biting, swallowing, and taking each other in are part of the erotic ritual.
Rooted in an experience of cultural limbo, Blue Hunger takes the reader on a visually stunning, taboo-demolishing journey into the depths of the psyche, from mourning to falling in lust-all in a city of potent dreams, stories, and stimulations.
Translated by Jamie Richards.