Book Review: The Membranes by Chi Ta-Wei, trans. Ari Larissa Heinrich

Cover of The Membranes by Chi Ta-Wei

Originally published 1995, Chi Ta-Wei’s The Membranes jumps forward a little over a hundred years and depicts (predicts?) a world defined by a queer sensibility. Membranes – viscous layers that simultaneously separate and engulf reality are present everywhere in this narrative. Ari Larissa Heinrich’s English translation feels particularly apt during a time of isolation, social distancing, and protective masking. A pre-cursor to posthumanism in literature, The Membranes asks important questions about consent, embodiment, ethics, and technology. The ontology of human is challenged and tested; cartesian dualism warped beyond recognition.

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