Benjanun Sriduangkaew, author
Julienne's aunts are the archer who shot down the suns and the woman who lives on the moon. They teach her that there's more to the city of her birth than meets the eye - that beneath the modern chrome and glass of Hong Kong there are demons, gods, and the seethe of ancient feuds. As a mortal Julienne is to give them wide berth, for unlike her divine aunts she is painfully vulnerable, and choice prey for any demon. Until one day, she comes across a wounded, bleeding woman no one else can see, and is drawn into an old, old story of love, snake women, and the deathless monk who hunts them.
The title novella is the longest published work to date from Sriduangkaew, a talented writer of short fiction; here it joins three previously published short stories, all set in the same mythic Chinese universe. As Julienne rides the train to work in modern Hong Kong, she is accosted by a man whom no one else sees. Later she notices a strange-looking woman, also invisible to others, bleeding in the street. Others might doubt their sanity after these events, but Julienne is intimately familiar with the supernatural, largely because her aunties, a happily married lesbian couple, also happen to be Houyi, the Divine Archer, and Chang’e, the Goddess of the Moon, major figures in the Chinese pantheon. The bleeding woman, Olivia, is actually a demon out to steal Julienne’s life force. Julienne survives the encounter, and the two find themselves oddly attracted to each other. Later, aided by Julienne’s aunties, they set out on a quest to free Olivia’s older sister from her centuries-long confinement. Fine writing, fascinating sexual politics, and well-developed, quirky characters make this tale a resounding success. (BookLife)