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Flèche - Mary Jean Chan

Flèche - Mary Jean Chan

Title: Flèche

Author:  Mary Jean Chan

ISBN:  9780571348046

Weight:  525 g

Signed first edition, first print paperback original



In stock, usually sent within 24 hours

Our price:  £11.99

Flèche by Mary Jean Chan

Flèche (the French word for ‘arrow’) is an offensive technique commonly used in fencing, a sport of Mary Jean Chan’s young adult years, when she competed locally and internationally for her home city, Hong Kong.

This cross-linguistic pun presents the queer, non-white body as both vulnerable (‘flesh’) and weaponised (‘flèche’), and evokes the difficulties of reconciling one’s need for safety alongside the desire to shed one’s protective armour in order to fully embrace the world.

Central to the collection is the figure of the poet’s mother, whose fragmented memories of political turmoil in twentieth-century China are sensitively threaded through the book in an eight-part poetic sequence, combined with recollections from Chan’s childhood.

As complex themes of multilingualism, queerness, psychoanalysis and cultural history emerge, so too does a richly imagined personal, maternal and national biography.  The result is a series of poems that feel urgent and true, dazzling and devastating by turns.

Peer & Press Reviews

Flèche was a Poetry Book Society autumn 2019 recommendation.

Flèche is an extraordinary, brilliant and searing collection, its smouldering ardour beautifully governed by formal rigour and literary excellence.

Bidisha, broadcaster and journalist specialising in arts and culture

Sparkling and vulnerable… the arrival of an essential new voice.

Sarah Howe, author of Loop of Jade

Chan’s work has an astounding urgency to it.  A poet of our time… her poetry is psychologically astute and culturally complex.

Jackie Kay, national poet laureate of Scotland

Bibliographic Info

Attribute Details
Title Flèche
Book Features
Edition / printing First edition, first printing
Edition features This is an attractive, nicely produced book with French flaps.  While these look decorative, they also give added strength to the cover of this paperback original.
Overall condition Fine (see our article on Condition Grades)
Signed On the title page
Awards and Media
Awards and prizes

Jhalak Prize 2020 – shortlist

International Dylan Thomas Prize 2020 – shortlist

Costa Book Award for Poetry 2019 – winner

Book Stats
Publisher Faber & Faber
Publication date
Printed by TJ International, Padstow
ISBN 13 9780571348046
ISBN 10 0571348041
Format Paperback (softcover)
Pages 75
Size (h x w x d) 204 x 158 x 8mm
Image and Design Credits
Design Pentagram

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