Inspector Chen creator Qiu Xiaolong praises the mystery FAIL

WU-Alum-Qiu-Xiaolong-authorQiu Xiaolong, author, most recently, of Enigma of China: An Inspector Chen Novel and ten other fiction and poetry books, recently read and praised my new St. Louis-based mystery novel Fail:

“A page-turner not to be missed in any circumstances, an eye-and-mind-opener to be held against the backdrop of Ferguson tragedy, Rick Skwiot’s Fail is a compelling crime novel in the cool and crisp language, but also much more than that with convincing insight into the cultural and political problems prevalent in today’s American society.”

Likewise, I am a fan of his work, and was particularly taken with his linked short story collection Years of Red Dust (St. Martin’s Press, 2010). His Shanghai Inspector Chen Cao mysteries show the long shadow that Chairman Mao and the Cultural Revolution—which rent Qiu’s family—still casts over contemporary China.

I first became acquainted with Qiu and his work two years ago when I interviewed him in St. Louis, where he now lives, for an article in Washington magazine. I spent a chill October morning sipping green tea with Qiu in his living room while he told me of his first published writing, which I described thus:

“In 1966, at age 13, Qiu was forced to write the confession for his capitalist father, who was in the hospital recovering from eye surgery, and then to stand by him at his public humiliation as it was read aloud.

“‘My father had to be mass criticized, to stand on stage as a target, where people denounced him and chanted slogans for hours,’ Qiu says.”

You can read the entire article here: China’s Punitive Past Colors Writer & Work.