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Fang Si-Chi's First Love Paradise: A Novel by Yi-Han Lin, Jenna Tang (Hardcover)

Fang Si-Chi's First Love Paradise: A Novel by Yi-Han Lin, Jenna Tang (Hardcover)

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Fiction - Literary - World Literature - Taiwan - Psychological 


The most influential book of Taiwan’s #MeToo movement—a heartbreaking account of sexual violence and a remarkable reinvention of the trauma plot, turning the traditional Lolita narrative upside down as it explores women’s vulnerability, victimization, and the lengths they will go to survive.

Thirteen-year-old Fang Si-Chi lives with her family in an upscale apartment complex in Taiwan, a tightknit community of strict yet doting parents and privileged children raised to be ambitious, dutiful, and virtuous. She and her neighbor Liu Yi-Ting bond over their love of learning and books, devouring classic works—Proust, Gabriel García Márquez, the very best Chinese writers. Yet, it is their lack of real-world education that makes them true kindred spirits.

Si-Chi’s innocence is irresistible to Lee Guo-hua, a revered cram literature teacher and serial predator who lives in her building. When he offers to tutor the academic-minded girls for free, their parents—unaware of Lee’s true nature—happily accept. While Yi-Ting’s studies with Lee are straightforward, Si-Chi learns about things no one teaches them in school—lessons about sex and love that will change the course of her life. Confused and uncertain, Si-Chi turns to her beloved books for guidance. But literature tells her nothing honest about rape or how to cope with the trauma of abuse. For her own salvation, the young girl begins to think of her personal hell as her “first love paradise,” where the power of love, no matter how twisted, gives her the strength to survive.

One of the biggest books to come out of Taiwan in the last decade, Fang Si-Chi’s First Love Paradise is a chilling tale of grooming and its lingering trauma, and the power structures that allow it to flourish. Insightful, unsettling, emotionally raw, it is a staggering work of literature that reverberates across cultures and forces us to confront painful truths about the vulnerability and strength of women and those who use and hurt them.

Translated from the Chinese by Jenna Tang


Lin Yi-Han (1991-2017) was a Taiwanese writer. Fang Si-Chi's First Love Paradise was her first and only novel. It sold over a million copies globally, won prizes, including the Open Book Best Fiction Award and the Liang Yu-Sen Literary Award, and became a feminist manifesto across Asia. Lin Yi-Han also wrote for INK magazine and BuzzFeed.

"Fang Si-Chi's First Love Paradise provides both a scathing account of the ways strong communities can simultaneously love and fail to protect their girls, and a tender portrayal of the ways girls learn to survive within these spaces. Lin Yi-Han's only novel is not merely about the psychological effects of grooming and abuse, but also the mysteries and peculiar powers of girlhood and female friendship. In Jenna Tang's precise and lyrical translation, each paragraph contains a jewel of language; I kept underlining passages that contained thoughts I'd had as a teenager that I've never seen rendered on the page before. In a time when still too few take girls seriously in both literature and life, this novel showcases how 'their excitement... was also tinged with desire; that this desire was actually despair.' I loved Fang Si-Chi's First Love Paradise and am thrilled English-speaking audiences can now access Lin Yi-Han's moving novel."
-- Jami Nakamura Lin, author of The Night Parade

"Fang Si-Chi's First Love Paradise is a powerful and unflinchingly told story from the unforgettable voice of Lin Yi-Han. Deftly and sensitively translated by Jenna Tang, this book shatters the stifling silence that is so often forced on survivors. A searing exploration of the impact of abuse, this is a riveting account of resilience and the importance of language and narrative in shaping our understanding of violence and trauma."-- Gina Chung, author of Sea Change and Green Frog

"Fang Si-Chi's First Love Paradise is a harrowing portrait of sexual violence and its thunderous reverberations. Through Jenna Tang's incisive translation, the reader is brought along a heartbreaking and unflinching journey. A dark, vivid, and important read that stewarded the #MeToo movement in Taiwan."-- Crystal Hana Kim, author of If You Leave Me

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