Watering Heaven (Signal 8 Press, 2012) by Peter Tieryas Liu consists of twenty stories that mostly feature male protagonists who surround themselves with feisty, independent, and intelligent women.
Peter Tieryas Liu writes about themes that we can all relate to: workplace satisfaction, relationships, identity, acceptance, and death. As I read Watering Heaven, I couldn’t help but think of Wong Kar-wai, Hong Kong’s avant garde director extraordinaire.
One of my favorite pieces is titled “The Political Misconception of Getting Fired.” In this story, Byron, the protagonist, becomes reacquainted with his high school crush. June contacts him on Facebook and they make a plan to meet for dinner. But when June speaks of aliens and UFOs, Byron freaks out and fakes a work emergency. As Byron leaves the dinner, he starts to regret his decision to leave. What happens later will change his life forever.
Another one that I’ll remember for a long time is “The Interview”, in which the protagonist is fired from a job for misidentifying a female manager as a male. When he interviews for another job, he’s asked the most intense questions about subjects such as death, marriage, cheating, love, happiness, and work ethics.
I enjoyed all of the stories in this collection and felt like I was right there in Beijing, LA, and the other settings in the book. Tieryas Liu is a young and fresh voice, and I can’t wait to read more from him in the years to come. He has a fabulous book trailer for Watering Heaven. You can click here to see the YouTube clip.