China Cowboy
by Kim Gek Lin Short

Lyric Novel. 132 pages. Paperback. 2012
Cover design: Andrew Shuta

$14.00Add to cart

In the technicolor timewarp called Hell, Hong Kong, wannabe cowgirl La La is hellbent on realizing her dream to be a folk-singing sensation, even if it means surviving a dysfunctional relationship with her kidnapper, Ren, who is just hellbent. Ren thinks he’ll win, but La La, dead or alive, always wins.

China Cowboy
by Kim Gek Lin Short

Lyric Novel. 132 pages. Paperback. 2012
Cover design: Andrew Shuta

$14.00Add to cart

In the technicolor timewarp called Hell, Hong Kong, wannabe cowgirl La La is hellbent on realizing her dream to be a folk-singing sensation, even if it means surviving a dysfunctional relationship with her kidnapper, Ren, who is just hellbent. Ren thinks he’ll win, but La La, dead or alive, always wins.

Born in Hong Kong to a family of thieves, La La survives by giving herself fully to her religion—Americana. Her saints: Loretta Lynn and Clint Eastwood. Even after being kidnapped and brutally tortured by one of her family’s victims—ironically a farmer from Missouri named Ren—she asks herself, “what would Patsy Cline do?” The answer: “she’d belt every song in that / scratchy face.” … This fragmented narrative chronicles their dreams, delusions, and horrific physical lives. La La and Ren are as searing as any characters I’ve encountered—Henry and Mr. Bones, Lolita and Humbert Humbert, Hannibal Lecter and Buffalo Bill…. (Chris Tonelli) Short is an elegant, entrancing writer, and her second book-length collection is both devastating and uncomfortably enjoyable. (Megan Milks, American Book Review) A satanically intricate narrative with seemingly infinite vantage points in space, time and sympathy … has expanded and fused the poetic and narrative fields, creating a zone where elegance and grace can gambol with the just-plain-fucked-up. (Sarah Heady, HTML Giant) …grossly disturbing and excruciatingly seductive, catching the reader in a tense push and pull with and against the text. Sticky and stuck among the fucking and fucked-up, Short binds us within tales of fierce femme survival…. (Jai Arun Ravine, The Lantern Review)  As savage as it is entertaining…. a marvel of modern storytelling, [with] characters whose stories will haunt you long after you finish the book, and will more than likely draw you back for another read. (John Deming and Steven Karl, Coldfront “Top 40 Poetry Books of 2012”) Bring[s] the reader to the brink of every sensory extreme and back again … a darkly surreal adventure in perception that leaves one’s nerves exposed and moral fortitude shaken. (Travis Macdonald, Fact-Simile) 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…. La La may be victimized, but she never submits…. I want every child to own such unyielding puissance; I want it for me, too. (Marthe Reed, OPEN / Horse Less Press) Moving between the explicit descriptions of the Marquis de Sade and the implicit ironies of Nabokov, these pieces are excruciatingly compelling, so infernal as they are related in languages variously pornographic and desperately, radically tender. Short’s brilliant tragicomedy can be read as a metaphor for China’s dynamic with American culture or the story of any determined enterprising youth whose eager “bloody head” under a bumbling tyrant’s “boot is bent.” A bold, imaginative, timely work from a courageous and complex thinker. (Heidi Lynn Staples) Heated & heartbreaking, China Cowboy charms like wedding cans, flesh-filled, on tarmac. This car (perhaps an old, long Cadillac with longhorns glaring & charred) contains a man, Ren: a “family man” or “something commensurate.” La-La: our heroine. & the driver, guiding us expertly over the bluegrass, bodies & Time Warps of Hell, child abuse, power & Country Music is Kim Gek Lin Short. (Rauan Klassnik) China Cowboy is more hydra than hybrid, a slim monster sprouting new directions for form, narrative, culture, and identity. Meanwhile, everything it bites comes to vicious, gorgeous life. (Christian TeBordo)

Born in Hong Kong to a family of thieves, La La survives by giving herself fully to her religion—Americana. Her saints: Loretta Lynn and Clint Eastwood. Even after being kidnapped and brutally tortured by one of her family’s victims—ironically a farmer from Missouri named Ren—she asks herself, “what would Patsy Cline do?” The answer: “she’d belt every song in that / scratchy face.” … This fragmented narrative chronicles their dreams, delusions, and horrific physical lives. La La and Ren are as searing as any characters I’ve encountered—Henry and Mr. Bones, Lolita and Humbert Humbert, Hannibal Lecter and Buffalo Bill…. (Chris Tonelli) Short is an elegant, entrancing writer, and her second book-length collection is both devastating and uncomfortably enjoyable. (Megan Milks, American Book Review) A satanically intricate narrative with seemingly infinite vantage points in space, time and sympathy … has expanded and fused the poetic and narrative fields, creating a zone where elegance and grace can gambol with the just-plain-fucked-up. (Sarah Heady, HTML Giant) …grossly disturbing and excruciatingly seductive, catching the reader in a tense push and pull with and against the text. Sticky and stuck among the fucking and fucked-up, Short binds us within tales of fierce femme survival…. (Jai Arun Ravine, The Lantern Review)  As savage as it is entertaining…. a marvel of modern storytelling, [with] characters whose stories will haunt you long after you finish the book, and will more than likely draw you back for another read. (John Deming and Steven Karl, Coldfront “Top 40 Poetry Books of 2012”) Bring[s] the reader to the brink of every sensory extreme and back again … a darkly surreal adventure in perception that leaves one’s nerves exposed and moral fortitude shaken. (Travis Macdonald, Fact-Simile) 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…. La La may be victimized, but she never submits…. I want every child to own such unyielding puissance; I want it for me, too. (Marthe Reed, OPEN / Horse Less Press) Moving between the explicit descriptions of the Marquis de Sade and the implicit ironies of Nabokov, these pieces are excruciatingly compelling, so infernal as they are related in languages variously pornographic and desperately, radically tender. Short’s brilliant tragicomedy can be read as a metaphor for China’s dynamic with American culture or the story of any determined enterprising youth whose eager “bloody head” under a bumbling tyrant’s “boot is bent.” A bold, imaginative, timely work from a courageous and complex thinker. (Heidi Lynn Staples) Heated & heartbreaking, China Cowboy charms like wedding cans, flesh-filled, on tarmac. This car (perhaps an old, long Cadillac with longhorns glaring & charred) contains a man, Ren: a “family man” or “something commensurate.” La-La: our heroine. & the driver, guiding us expertly over the bluegrass, bodies & Time Warps of Hell, child abuse, power & Country Music is Kim Gek Lin Short. (Rauan Klassnik) China Cowboy is more hydra than hybrid, a slim monster sprouting new directions for form, narrative, culture, and identity. Meanwhile, everything it bites comes to vicious, gorgeous life. (Christian TeBordo)

About the Author

Kim Gek Lin Short is the author of the lyric novels The Bugging Watch & Other Exhibits and China Cowboy, both from Tarpaulin Sky Press. Her story in prose poems, Run (Rope-a-Dope), was selected for the 2010 Golden Gloves, and her debut hybrid collection, The Residents, was published by Chicago’s dancing girl press. Her work appears in anthologies such as Narrative (Dis)Continuties: Prose Experiments by Younger American Writers, and in numerous literary magazines.

About the Author

Kim Gek Lin Short is the author of the lyric novels The Bugging Watch & Other Exhibits and China Cowboy, both from Tarpaulin Sky Press. Her story in prose poems, Run (Rope-a-Dope), was selected for the 2010 Golden Gloves, and her debut hybrid collection, The Residents, was published by Chicago’s dancing girl press. Her work appears in anthologies such as Narrative (Dis)Continuties: Prose Experiments by Younger American Writers, and in numerous literary magazines.