Anguli Ma is the central figure in a traditional Buddhist folktale, a deranged killer who wears his victims’ fingers in a garland around his neck. Chi Vu presents him as a menacing abattoir worker who carries bloody chunks of meat home to his lodgings in plastic bags, in this suburban Gothic tale set in 1980s Melbourne, when the flight of Vietnamese refugees to Australia was at its height.
The gathering fear, the prevailing darkness, the strange contours of the house which has been divided and sub-divided to accommodate its female occupants, the macabre humour and surreal effects, mark Chi Vu’s novella out as a unique contribution to contemporary Australian storytelling, and our understanding of its communities.
Fellow, Cities Program, Grattan Institute
Sidney Myer Asia Centre