At Horse Less Press, Marthe Reed pens an open letter to China Cowboy author Kim Gek Lin Short, whom Reed has never met.

We are grateful that Reed took the time to give voice to the multidirectional and conflicting, pained and joyful responses that readers experience through the text and the characters at its heart.

Reed, the author of Gaze (Black Radish Books) and Tender Box, A Wunderkammer (Lavender Ink), also discusses the process and the product of her letter:

The epistolary — the literary letter — has always stuck me as a letter into the void, to a person who will or can never read the letter.  Rather like the futility of writing to my representative in Congress.  This letter however, to Kim Gek Lin Short, a writer I have never met, is another animal entirely. A bridging of gaps, absence, desire: “Dear Kim.”  “Dear Kim. Your language sticks to me, adheres in transparent sheets, paper-in-the-rain, soaking through my skin.” Dear reader, dear writer.  What do you hear? Were you always there, listening through the wall, or the page? What would you say?

Writes Reed in her letter proper:

China Cowboy pulls me deep into “the belly of Hell,” a genre- and voice-switching push-and-pull that La La with her indomitable will refuses to give way to.  Ren, her abductor, sodomizes, drugs, lashes her, makes her bleed and makes her ill; her mother can’t, won’t love her until she is gone, long gone; “Baba” only had time to pimp her, use her, a foil for his thieving.  La La may be victimized, but she never submits, not even after “Bill” has put his boot to her skull.  I want every child to own such unyielding puissance; I want it for me, too.

Read the full letter at Horse Less Press.