Q & A with Bruce Humes, Translator of Eco-fiction Novel “Last Quarter of the Moon”

Thomas Bird: You translated Chi Zijian’s The Last Quarter of the Moon in 2012. It has now been rebranded and newly launched as part of the Vintage Earth series. How do you feel about it 10 years on?

Bruce Humes: I feel the book is more relevant than ever. On the one hand, it highlights the challenges that face isolated indigenous peoples, such as those in the Amazon jungle right now, in dealing with “intruders.” But it also raises important questions for “modern” societies: Did the Evenki leave the secluded mountains to offer a better material life to their children? Are they “eco-migrants” — China’s preferred official designation — who relocated due to the unfortunate erosion of their traditional habitat? Or are they eco-refugees, forced to move to “civilized fixed settlements,” in order to facilitate massive logging of their environment? In essence, habitat destruction, eco-migration, and the struggle of pre-industrial peoples to adapt to the 21st century are all timely topics. This repositions Last Quarter as a shining example of the highly topical eco-fiction genre, and distances it from the “ethnic China” box.

Click here for full interview at SupChina.

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