Sun, Dec 18, 2005 - Page 19 News List

Writing in Chinese is a learning curve for German expatriate

Cay Marchal visited Taipei on a stopover and was inspired enough to return and become an author of Chinese books

By Dan Bloom  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

"In my book, I write a lot about Taiwan and Asia. But I approached everything from a subjective [point of view], writing about and thinking about things that happened to me," Marchal said.

"In my book, readers will find some stories about my days in Taipei, a mixture of Graham Greene-like ironical impromptu [writing] and classical Chinese prose," Marchal said.

"For example, one story in the book focuses on a poster of Che Guevara that I saw in a bar here one day, and another chapter is about those coffee-table books with wedding photos that one can find near the Zhongshan MRT station, and another story is about how Vincent van Gogh studied calligraphy."

"Actually, my book is not about Taiwan so much as about how a European, or a cosmopolitan person, might see the world here in Taiwan," Marchal said.

"You know, while I am here, it's never possible to forget the distance between Taiwan and Europe and the loneliness of living in a foreign country without being able to see, on a regular basis, all the people I know back in Europe -- my family, my friends, my mentors. For me, living in Taiwan at this period in my life, I can say that it feels a bit like being Yen-ying in Hong Kong in the 1940s, but without somebody like Eileen Chang helping me out."

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