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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watering Heaven
I really enjoyed this one. Initially, I was wanting to make comparisons to Calvino or Borges (both of which would be accurate), except, as I worked through the collection, what stood out--even when there were bursts of intense creativity and magical realism--was the personal and emotional energy running through all of them, the elegance and the tendency to do away with...
Published 20 months ago by Kyle Muntz

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars manda-rae's Review of Watering Heaven
This book is a collection of bizarre short stories. Some of them don't make sense, but they do seem to have a common theme about our dreams of being happy or doing the right things in life. I kind of want to equate this book with going into an art museum and looking at the beautiful paintings all while thinking, "I don't get it." It's art and a lot of people are going...
Published 20 months ago by Amazon Customer


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watering Heaven, January 20, 2013
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This review is from: Watering Heaven (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this one. Initially, I was wanting to make comparisons to Calvino or Borges (both of which would be accurate), except, as I worked through the collection, what stood out--even when there were bursts of intense creativity and magical realism--was the personal and emotional energy running through all of them, the elegance and the tendency to do away with unnecessary artifice. The stories are about alienation, love, self-discovery to the same extent they're concerned with self, representation, mythology. Some of the standouts for me were "The Political Conceptions of Getting Fired", "Gradients", and especially "Chronology of an Egg. It was also great to see so many stories dealing with China or Chinese Americans. In general, the only thing I felt was missing was a longer story to act as sort of the center of the collection--the longest story was about 17 pages, whereas I would have preferred to see one or two between 30 and 60, since so many of these pieces dealt with the relationships between people over long periods of time. It's been a while since I read through a short story collection in just a few days, and this is one I would definitely recommend checking out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Written, October 27, 2012
This review is from: Watering Heaven (Paperback)
There was something that grabbed at my attention when Watering Heaven was requested to me. Perhaps it was the fact that I haven't read much in terms of Asian fiction, or perhaps because it was described as a travelogue. Whatever it was, it sparked something in me.

Watering Heaven is a collection of nineteen short stories, all with some connection to Asia, be it the setting or the characters themselves. There's also a lot of Asian folklore including in Watering Heaven, and I loved how these were included into the stories. They complemented each other well, and I thought that they were a fantastic edition into the stories. The stories wove together well too, not always with the characters featured but also with the settings and landmarks. I love it when stories do that, as I feel it really helps them to interlock together well.

The writing in Watering Heaven is exquisite. And I really do mean that. There are so many beautiful quotes in this book. They didn't feel misplaced within the stories either. Sometimes, a quote can be brilliant, yet stick out like a sore thumb for the wrong reasons. This isn't the case with Watering Heaven, everything flows together seamlessly. My favourite stories, basically the ones that have stayed with me, were A Beijing Romance, Staccato and Searching for Normalcy. That's not to say the others were bad, those three were the ones that made the largest impression on myself. A lot of these stories are incredibly thought-provoking, asking weighty questions and taking the characters through experiences that I hope to never have to go through myself.

My one real complaint with Watering Heaven, and this is an extremely petty complaint that I have about nearly every single short story I read: some of the stories were too short. I know that's the point of short stories, I honestly do. I just get so attached to the characters and their backgrounds that I want to spend more time with them, learn more about them and their relationships with others. I just get so frustrated reading short stories sometimes, it's like getting a lick of ice cream when you just want to have the entire scoop. Watering Heaven also has some mature themes running through it, so this isn't one for people who don't like reading about sex or death. I didn't personally have a problem with the themes, but I am all too aware that there are people that do.

Overall, Watering Heaven was an interesting and, at times, thought-provoking read. Whilst it's not something I'd have picked up off my own back, I'm pleased I got to experience the beautiful writing that is contained within these stories.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh and fabulous short story collection, October 25, 2012
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This review is from: Watering Heaven (Paperback)
Watering Heaven is an edgy and past-faced collection of 20 short stories, mainly set in Beijing and Los Angeles. The themes covered in this book include happiness, love, relationships, identity, workplace satisfaction, and death. Several minor details overlap in some of the stories, but each stands alone and centers around a young, male protagonist. The women characters are feisty, strong, independent, and intelligent.

It's been more than 20 years since I've been to Beijing, so I especially enjoyed the stories set there. Tieryas Liu does an excellent job of bringing the reader into his stories, so I thought it was fun to read about contemporary Beijing. Both men and women will enjoy this book, as will Old China Hands and people who haven't had much exposure to Asian culture.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GET THIS BOOK!!!, September 15, 2013
This review is from: Watering Heaven (Paperback)
I loved this book! there is no doubt that Peter Tieryas Liu can write. buy this book, you will not regret it! I loved it and all the stories that are in it. Please buy this book to support this author, I'm telling you this out of selfishness because I want people to buy this so that he will continue to write!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watering Heaven, August 31, 2013
This review is from: Watering Heaven (Paperback)
This is a montage book with each chapter being a story independent of the rest of the novel. And while each was a pleasure to read, a few of these narratives had glimmers of true imagination, philosophy, and deep insight into the human heart. I even reread some of the vignettes and enjoyed them even more on the second pass.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like Eating Ice Cream, August 31, 2013
This review is from: Watering Heaven (Paperback)
I have always heard that good short stories are trickier to pen than good novels, but they certainly pose no problem for Peter Tieryas Liu. These are full of fresh ideas and surprises.

Clever and thought provoking phrases abound. 'We all have our costumes. None of us likes to be found out.' 'A connoisseur of eclectic conversations', 'the music of discordance, singing songs that had never been sung', and 'the misery of joy and the bliss of sorrow'.

The loneliness of mankind is touched on often, and moths seem to be key, too. I can't seem to get the question out of my mind 'Can milk make crows talk?'

Reading this was like eating ice cream. It was a first-reads giveaway, signed by the author. Thank you!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stories so good you'll injure yourself reading them!, August 28, 2013
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Matthew A Wencl (Seattle, WA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Watering Heaven (Paperback)
I can't remember the last time a short story made my jaw drop so abruptly that I skinned it, but "Chronology of an Egg" did that to me. And that was just the first story.

I've read many a story that uses a symbolic device or tries too transparently to be clever, but Liu's storytelling has a naturalness that's rare. What I appreciate about these stories is that they all seem to belong together, and most importantly, they come across as sincere. You feel the truth behind the words, whether they convey the pain of love or the sorrow over its brevity, and the magical realisms feel more real than magical. There's plenty of wonder to be felt, but these stories resonate because every reader can relate with the ambiguities of relationships, and the sputterings and burnouts that ensue between people whether or not chance meetings ever develop to that level.

You'll discover tenderness here that will compel real emotion, and ponderings that don't try to offer answers but keep you rooted in the big question: why DO we exist?

At times I felt that each individual character was merely asking a different iteration of this question, but that's what's so exceptional . . . that the question doesn't change . . . just our way of framing it. What could have been repetitious instead sings. You should read this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crazily inventive, May 19, 2013
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This review is from: Watering Heaven (Paperback)
This marvelous collection of short stories is crazily inventive, completely creative, fascinating, superbly written and reality-expanding. Peter T. Liu is one of those writers that make you wish your mind worked even half as well and that creative writing classes really could have given you a drop of his brilliance. All the stories had their own beauty and life but my favorites involved eggs or dancing! Highly recommended and I can't wait for more from this exciting writer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Magical Realism: In Pursuit of One's Existence, April 14, 2013
This review is from: Watering Heaven (Paperback)
I believe a common misconception about fantasy and magic is that it has to be set in a world or dimension apart from our own; that any infiltration to it in the modern day world would be some sort of an abomination or just generally impossible to believe. Peter Tieryas Liu's collection of abstract, bizarre yet inspiring collection of short stories prove otherwise. Throughout the series of these ongoing first person narrations, Liu weaves together magical realism into situations regarding the ongoing goal for the pursuit of the meaning of one's life, existence and happiness. While it may evoke a feeling of melancholy at times, just think that, that's how life is sometimes too.

Call it madness, if you will, but I call it inspiring in its own way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest, Inventive, and Soulful, March 9, 2013
This review is from: Watering Heaven (Paperback)
I'm not a big fan of fiction. There are very few fiction books and authors I can lose myself in. Peter's book of short stories is one of them. His portrayal of the human condition with all its flaws and beauty is so eloquently portrayed in various themes and relationships. Insightful and spot on with emotions one is often too unaware or ashamed to admit, Peter's writing makes you think, laugh, and reflect. I hope a novel is in the works!
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Watering Heaven
Watering Heaven by Peter Tieryas Liu (Paperback - October 15, 2012)
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