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Flèche Reviews

Flèche by Mary Jean Chan


Mary Jean Chan

Score pending

1 review

Category: Poetry, Non-fiction
Imprint: Faber & Faber
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publication date: 4 Jul 2019
ISBN: 9780571348046

POETRY BOOK SOCIETY RECOMMENDATION Fleche (the French word for 'arrow') is an offensive technique commonly used in fencing, a sport of Mary Jean Chan's young adult years, when she competed locally and internationally for her home city, Hong Kong.

3 stars out of 5

"It’s a thrilling hint at things to come."

Flèche is an impressively poised, lucid and understated debut, but it’s better when it’s being none of those things. There are flashes of something at once stranger and more casual late in the book, a new voice found in often unpunctuated poems where “all the metaphors/ have failed”: “some days I dare not look at the trees/ they are such hopeful creatures”; “my lover wants me to be myself/ which is both a brilliant and cruel prospect”. Here Chan escapes the “impeccable persona” to embrace the flèche – that daring, full-bodied leap. It’s a thrilling hint at things to come.