the short story project

The Magician on the Footbridge

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The Magician on the Footbridge by Wu Ming-Yi

Author Ursula K. Le Guin wrote about the novel from which this short story is presented: “We haven’t read anything like this novel. Ever. South America gave us magical realism—what is Taiwan giving us? A new way of telling our reality: new, beautiful, entertaining, frightening, preposterous, true. Completely unsentimental but never brutal, Wu Ming-Yi treats human vulnerability and the world’s vulnerability with fearless tenderness.” The name of the novel is “The Man with the Compound Eyes,” and it was published in 2011. It is a dystopian ecological novel that was translated into numerous languages and won many awards. The mythical figure of the Man with the Compound Eyes looms in the background, and the reader is left to form his or her own theory as to whether he is the spirit of nature, humanity’s alter ego, or something else entirely.