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What would you do if you found out your girlfriend laid an egg every time she had sex? Who would you be if you were invited to a party in Beijing but had to make up a brand-new identity for six weeks? Peter Tieryas Liu's Watering Heaven is a travelogue of and requiem for the American dream in all its bizarre manifestations and a surreal, fantastic journey through the stree What would you do if you found out your girlfriend laid an egg every time she had sex? Who would you be if you were invited to a party in Beijing but had to make up a brand-new identity for six weeks? Peter Tieryas Liu's Watering Heaven is a travelogue of and requiem for the American dream in all its bizarre manifestations and a surreal, fantastic journey through the streets, alleys, and airports of China. Whether it's a monk who uses acupuncture needles to help him fly or a city filled with rats about to be exterminated so that the mayor can win his reelection bid, be prepared to laugh, swoon, and shudder at the answers Peter Tieryas Liu offers in this provocative debut collection.


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What would you do if you found out your girlfriend laid an egg every time she had sex? Who would you be if you were invited to a party in Beijing but had to make up a brand-new identity for six weeks? Peter Tieryas Liu's Watering Heaven is a travelogue of and requiem for the American dream in all its bizarre manifestations and a surreal, fantastic journey through the stree What would you do if you found out your girlfriend laid an egg every time she had sex? Who would you be if you were invited to a party in Beijing but had to make up a brand-new identity for six weeks? Peter Tieryas Liu's Watering Heaven is a travelogue of and requiem for the American dream in all its bizarre manifestations and a surreal, fantastic journey through the streets, alleys, and airports of China. Whether it's a monk who uses acupuncture needles to help him fly or a city filled with rats about to be exterminated so that the mayor can win his reelection bid, be prepared to laugh, swoon, and shudder at the answers Peter Tieryas Liu offers in this provocative debut collection.

30 review for Watering Heaven

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lela

    This marvelous collection of short stories is crazily inventive, completely creative, fascinating, superbly written and reality-expanding. Peter T. Liu is one of those writers that make you wish your mind worked even half as well and that creative writing classes really could have given you a drop of his brilliance. All the stories had their own beauty and life but my favorites involved eggs or dancing! Highly recommended and I can't wait for more from this exciting writer. This marvelous collection of short stories is crazily inventive, completely creative, fascinating, superbly written and reality-expanding. Peter T. Liu is one of those writers that make you wish your mind worked even half as well and that creative writing classes really could have given you a drop of his brilliance. All the stories had their own beauty and life but my favorites involved eggs or dancing! Highly recommended and I can't wait for more from this exciting writer.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nefariousbig

    如果这本书是天空词是明星 (view spoiler)[if the book is the sky, the words are all stars (hide spoiler)] Watering Heaven is beautifully written. Emotional and strong. Each story is a simple proverb, a tiny insight into the darkness of time, perhaps even a cheat-code for life. Peter Tieryas is a diviner of simplicity. His pen searches for the perfect words to make you feel cleansed of negativity. For me, all of the stories are beautiful, enchanting even. A few made me feel soft, but not weak. Simple life lesson 如果这本书是天空词是明星 (view spoiler)[if the book is the sky, the words are all stars (hide spoiler)] Watering Heaven is beautifully written. Emotional and strong. Each story is a simple proverb, a tiny insight into the darkness of time, perhaps even a cheat-code for life. Peter Tieryas is a diviner of simplicity. His pen searches for the perfect words to make you feel cleansed of negativity. For me, all of the stories are beautiful, enchanting even. A few made me feel soft, but not weak. Simple life lessons I wish I'd known before now. Change “v=Hd was the equation for the rate at which galaxies sped away from one another, the H stands for Hubble’s Constant, the v, for the vapid volume of velocity. The third variable was d, representing the distance, the diametrical disposition of difference. And somehow, these three digits summarized the universe into a trinity of letters, simplicity exemplified. It struck me, when I first learned the variables, how it would have taken a thousand times more energy to resist change than to accept it.” Love “There’s this story,” she starts, stumbles from drink. "A heavenly moth fell in love with the sun. Half of every day, they’d lie together, and her wings would cover the sun so it’d turn into night. A couple thousand years passed, and the sun fell in love with another moth. The first moth was cast out. But she still loved him and orbited the Earth, content reflecting the sun’s light to the rest of the world." Mercy “There was another one about a girl who could destroy the world with a single thought, but didn’t, because she liked moon cakes too much.” Futility “I felt lost in a tundra of futility that found enthusiasm more daunting than climbing the thousand-story pavilions of Chinese myth. I knew my so-called “stability” was a wooden igloo I’d been clinging to because I had no alternatives. […] I could feel the cartography of my bitterness etched into the mountain ranges of envy, see all my life clear as a film flash and how crudely incomplete it was. I was the Buddha of no parts. And the sea that hid me had vanished like my anonymity.” Watering Heaven soothed me, like a warm cup of tea before bed and a soft pillow. After closing the book, as I drifted off to sleep, I imagined thousands of tiny drops of water falling up, toward the heavens. And even though I was alone, I was not lonely. I felt safe, but not guarded. I felt the simple comfort of being.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Michael Owens

    "Reader's Digest" version of my review: Watering Heaven is simply and unquestionably one of the best books to come out in 2012! I cannot stress this enough. I've been fumbling for days now, searching for the exact right words to describe this book. I'd started writing my review even before I finished the book. So many stories stood out that it became hard to pick which ones I could claim as my favorite. Even that word—"favorite"—all but loses its meaning when you come across such a wonderful "Reader's Digest" version of my review: Watering Heaven is simply and unquestionably one of the best books to come out in 2012! I cannot stress this enough. I've been fumbling for days now, searching for the exact right words to describe this book. I'd started writing my review even before I finished the book. So many stories stood out that it became hard to pick which ones I could claim as my favorite. Even that word—"favorite"—all but loses its meaning when you come across such a wonderful collection. One of the elements of Liu’s collection I enjoyed most was the way he elegantly layered in different myths with his modern stories where the protagonist would ultimately learn something. Beyond that, Liu has a way of tying the myths and stories together often with incredible single lines. They’re like a punch to the solar plexus when you see what he’s done. “I wanted something so badly, I tried to destroy it when I couldn’t have it.” “Moths don’t eat, you know? They’re born, they transform, they fuck, then they die.” “Unfortunately, my essence too was just a shard, a sublimation of everything I’d wanted. . . . Death was the normal end for everyone: there, and only there, would my search for normalcy end.” These three quotes are from three different stories, but they share one commonality: they guide the reader toward what’s really important from the story. They help the reader as well as the protagonist take something away. Some of these stories demanded that I put the book down and let the impact of the language sink in. For other people, the book can be read in a couple sittings, but for me, I had to process each story on its own. I felt like it’d be a disservice not to give each one individual attention. Therein lies one of the other elements I enjoyed most: the way each story stands out on its own, yet feels perfectly selected for inclusion in this collection. There are recurring characters—Larry Chao might be the most memorable—as well as recurring themes, though never do they feel rehashed. Superlatives run thin at this point in some reviews. I can’t recommend the book enough. It’s got an incredibly tender, human element that is missing from so much of today’s literature, which is really some of the highest praise I can give a book. My hat is off to Peter Tieryas Liu—chapeau!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kyle Muntz

    I really enjoyed this one. Initially, I was wanting to make comparisons to Calvino or Borges (both of which would be accurate), except, as I worked through the collection, what stood out--even when there were bursts of intense creativity and magical realism--was the personal and emotional energy running through all of them, the elegance and the tendency to do away with unnecessary artifice. The stories are about alienation, love, self-discovery to the same extent they're concerned with self, rep I really enjoyed this one. Initially, I was wanting to make comparisons to Calvino or Borges (both of which would be accurate), except, as I worked through the collection, what stood out--even when there were bursts of intense creativity and magical realism--was the personal and emotional energy running through all of them, the elegance and the tendency to do away with unnecessary artifice. The stories are about alienation, love, self-discovery to the same extent they're concerned with self, representation, mythology. Some of the standouts for me were "The Political Conceptions of Getting Fired", "Gradients", and especially "Chronology of an Egg. It was also great to see so many stories dealing with China or Chinese Americans. In general, the only thing I felt was missing was a longer story to act as sort of the center of the collection--the longest story was about 17 pages, whereas I would have preferred to see one or two between 30 and 60, since so many of these pieces dealt with the relationships between people over long periods of time. It's been a while since I read through a short story collection in just a few days, and this is one I would definitely recommend checking out.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5++++++++ STARS!!!!!!!! Move over George Saunders (who's book of Short Stories was rated #1 Best seller this year) -- Peter Tieryas Liu's stories are better!!! Creative, (REALLY CREATIVE), engaging to the point where you'll need to take a walk and 'think' for a several hours after each one -- Enjoyable -- Very human and heart touching -- Great dialogue -relationship-connections -- Global-intimacy-challenges -- Witty writing --(damn wonderful!!!) Peter has just no LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5++++++++ STARS!!!!!!!! Move over George Saunders (who's book of Short Stories was rated #1 Best seller this year) -- Peter Tieryas Liu's stories are better!!! Creative, (REALLY CREATIVE), engaging to the point where you'll need to take a walk and 'think' for a several hours after each one -- Enjoyable -- Very human and heart touching -- Great dialogue -relationship-connections -- Global-intimacy-challenges -- Witty writing --(damn wonderful!!!) Peter has just now become my new favorite author! I admire his work! I am starting to feel 'that-feeling' I have towards Dave Eggers. Some authors are great writers --(which Peter is) --MUCH TALENT --- But through his writing --I see something else: This guy is an exceptional humanitarian ---[a guy who would 'walk-the-walk']... I'd bet my ass of it! By the way: For those who say...."But I don't read "SHORT STORIES" ...."They do nothing for me"....(a camp which I felt I once lived in) --- Well, then read THIS BOOK....You just might change your mind!!!!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    Great writing, great stories! Will say more soon. These stories are very original and fascinating. All but a couple, I think, were told in first person., this and the setting hold the collection together. Themes range from love, loss, belonging and not belonging, identity, connection or lack of connection in relationships, etc. Liu has a particular way with language that forces the reader to pay close attention, sentences that move from funny to moving, to sharp and deft or deeply metaphorical. Great writing, great stories! Will say more soon. These stories are very original and fascinating. All but a couple, I think, were told in first person., this and the setting hold the collection together. Themes range from love, loss, belonging and not belonging, identity, connection or lack of connection in relationships, etc. Liu has a particular way with language that forces the reader to pay close attention, sentences that move from funny to moving, to sharp and deft or deeply metaphorical. I was especially taken with the dialogue, throughout. There are no throwaway lines. It made me think this collection would be fantastic as a series of short films because of the dialogue, the strange characters, the surprises each story seems to hold for the reader. Previous reviews have done a good job of summarizing the stories so I won't do that here. My favorites were "Chronology of An Egg", "Staccato" and "58 Random Deaths and Unrequited Love." Some favorite lines: From "Staccato": "Riveting is a word I shouldn't use carelessly, as I've had a bad experience with rivets." "Used to be religious but couldn't understand how any superior being could create an animal so ugly." And this whole amazing exchange: "You really sell dead moths?" I ask. "You really sell vitamins?" The Maotais are strong. "I'm an accountant." "And I'm a failed violinist," she replies. "You enjoy your work?" "I love numbers, especially imaginary ones," I say. "You realize the fall of society began with the concept of irrational numbers?" "How so?" "It quantified madness." (Should I have said legitimized?) I love that. I love the parenthetical. Liu's characters are so smart and broken and odd and searching. "Staccato" is to me one of the sadder stories of the collection, but the sadness creeps up on you as you're busy watching the thing unfold. I love when a story does that to me. Most of the stories end on a strong line of dialogue and then perhaps an added small gesture, a thought, a brief action that manage to resonate without pounding you over the head with what the writer wants you to come away with. There's a confidence to the writing that I appreciated. Every story seems to contain something unexpected, or strange or delightful, which again, I appreciated and enjoyed. Every story makes you think. Highly recommend this collection and look forward to more of Liu's work!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Leah (Books Speak Volumes)

    Watering Heaven is Peter Tieryas Liu’s debut short story collection, and it is a beautiful anthology of stories about human loneliness, vulnerability, love, loss, and the crushing weight of the American dream. All of the stories have some connection to Asia (most of them take place in L.A. or Beijing) and the combined Asian/American perspectives were really interesting to read. This collection contains both realistic stories and surreal pieces that meander into magical realism; there’s a man who r Watering Heaven is Peter Tieryas Liu’s debut short story collection, and it is a beautiful anthology of stories about human loneliness, vulnerability, love, loss, and the crushing weight of the American dream. All of the stories have some connection to Asia (most of them take place in L.A. or Beijing) and the combined Asian/American perspectives were really interesting to read. This collection contains both realistic stories and surreal pieces that meander into magical realism; there’s a man who reconnects with his old crush only to find that she is no longer desirable, a man who forsakes his dreams for a fat paycheck, and a man who is obsessed with listening into other people’s phone calls, but there’s also a girl without a reflection, a man who can die and then come back to life, and a monk who uses acupuncture needles to fly around a decaying amusement park. These stories are about alienation, emotional baggage, and unrequited love, but they’re also about joyful nights partying on the Great Wall, getting to know fascinating new people, and discovering new truths about the world. It took me a few stories to really get into this collection, but when I did get into it I became really absorbed. Although I usually like to dip in and out of short story collections, reading one or two stories at a time and then doing something else, Watering Heaven was really easy for me to sit down and read for an extended period of time. The writing is gorgeous and the stories flow really well together, weaving a beautiful tapestry of insecurity, heartbreak, and self-discovery. The characters in these stories are stunted in different ways. In “Unreflected,” a former chef loses his sense of taste and smell, and a girl loses her reflection. The woman in “The Buddha of Many Parts” can only fall in love with pieces of people, not their whole beings. Characters in multiple stories are stunted by their belief in the American dream, by putting their dreams and childhood desires on hold to pursue prominence and high salaries. As with any short story collection, there were many stories that shined brightly and that I really connected with and a few that I didn’t quite love. Among my favorites were the stories that incorporated Asian folklore and mythology, such as “The Wolf’s Choice” and “The Buddha of Many Parts,” a story about being inspired by perfection/imperfection and the jealous human drive to destroy the perfection we can’t attain. Another favorite was “Cold Fusion,” a story American excess and egotism, but also about a man’s inability to tell his lover how he feels and ask her not to leave. Watering Heaven is a beautiful short story collection filled with imperfect, sympathetic characters, haunting situations, and eloquent yet understated writing. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for my fair and honest review. More book reviews at Books Speak Volumes.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Gu

    "There was something terribly unromantic about falling in love in Beijing. And yet it was the most romantic city I'd known." "She couldn't see me in motion and our desires became frozen in the strata of memory." "I watched the trains, each one a moving billboard selling commercialized happiness." "Walking on water is easy if you know where to step." "We were like those two ill fated lover gods who shouted at each other until they became so cold and obdurate, they turned into mountains." Watering Heav "There was something terribly unromantic about falling in love in Beijing. And yet it was the most romantic city I'd known." "She couldn't see me in motion and our desires became frozen in the strata of memory." "I watched the trains, each one a moving billboard selling commercialized happiness." "Walking on water is easy if you know where to step." "We were like those two ill fated lover gods who shouted at each other until they became so cold and obdurate, they turned into mountains." Watering Heaven is a beautiful read. The author is a very good reader too! I wish there were more stories.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Meg - A Bookish Affair

    4.5 stars. Short stories are usually not my genre of choice. There have been a couple books in 2012 that have changed my mind a little bit. "Watering Heaven" is most definitely among those ranks. You must read this book. If you like authors who know how to use magical realism to elicit really gorgeous stories, you must read this book. If you like authors like Borges or Murakami that make the unreal seem plausible and even real, you must read this book. If you are an armchair traveler, you must r 4.5 stars. Short stories are usually not my genre of choice. There have been a couple books in 2012 that have changed my mind a little bit. "Watering Heaven" is most definitely among those ranks. You must read this book. If you like authors who know how to use magical realism to elicit really gorgeous stories, you must read this book. If you like authors like Borges or Murakami that make the unreal seem plausible and even real, you must read this book. If you are an armchair traveler, you must read this book. Here's what I'm trying to say to you, this book is going to appeal to a lot of people and I wholeheartedly suggest that you pick it up and take a look. This book tells a lot of different stories about a lot of different people. Most of the stories are told from a gentleman's perspective. Some of the stories are from the first person point of view. Others are from the third person point of view. Many of the books have a magical realism element that I absolutely love. One of my favorite stories in the book is about a woman who lays an egg any time she has sex, which for obvious reasons perhaps, seems to drive her lovers away. I know this sounds like a really crazy scenario but the way that Liu writes, you almost find yourself wondering why this doesn't happen to more people. It's a real talent! I also loved the traveling in this book. Many of the stories take place in California and China. I have not read a lot of stories set in China so those stories were especially interesting to me. You get a great sense of place in this book, which I absolutely love. You can see the cityscape. You can see the street corners and stores and building. You can see the different people that inhabit the world of these characters. Bottom line: A great collection of vivid short stories!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Zoeytron

    I have always heard that good short stories are trickier to pen than good novels, but they certainly pose no problem for Peter Tieryas Liu. These are full of fresh ideas and surprises. Clever and thought provoking phrases abound. 'We all have our costumes. None of us likes to be found out.' 'A connoisseur of eclectic conversations', 'the music of discordance, singing songs that had never been sung', and 'the misery of joy and the bliss of sorrow'. The loneliness of mankind is touched on often, an I have always heard that good short stories are trickier to pen than good novels, but they certainly pose no problem for Peter Tieryas Liu. These are full of fresh ideas and surprises. Clever and thought provoking phrases abound. 'We all have our costumes. None of us likes to be found out.' 'A connoisseur of eclectic conversations', 'the music of discordance, singing songs that had never been sung', and 'the misery of joy and the bliss of sorrow'. The loneliness of mankind is touched on often, and moths seem to be key, too. I can't seem to get the question out of my mind 'Can milk make crows talk?' Reading this was like eating ice cream. It was a first-reads giveaway, signed by the author. Thank you!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michael Twist

    Peter Tieryas Liu’s Watering Heaven is a refreshing smattering of clever and original ideas, all of which lend credence to the notion that the extremely skilled can get away with first person narration in ways that most can’t. Liu’s narration provides a glimpse into the mind of the extraordinary: the type that would likely get fidgety but couldn’t be bored in a barren prison cell because of the hyperactive and brilliant mind they possess. Watering Heaven mixes humor, surprise around numerous cor Peter Tieryas Liu’s Watering Heaven is a refreshing smattering of clever and original ideas, all of which lend credence to the notion that the extremely skilled can get away with first person narration in ways that most can’t. Liu’s narration provides a glimpse into the mind of the extraordinary: the type that would likely get fidgety but couldn’t be bored in a barren prison cell because of the hyperactive and brilliant mind they possess. Watering Heaven mixes humor, surprise around numerous corners, and vibrant banter in a way that leaves readers and even fellow writers shaking their heads with admiration.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lucia

    All these short stories were creative, some realistic, some surrealistic, all intriguing. I really enjoyed this collection. I can't say which was my favorite! As I'm moving to Beijing next month, I was especially interested in the cultural juxtaposition...I just hope the rat story is a NYC allusion :-) All these short stories were creative, some realistic, some surrealistic, all intriguing. I really enjoyed this collection. I can't say which was my favorite! As I'm moving to Beijing next month, I was especially interested in the cultural juxtaposition...I just hope the rat story is a NYC allusion :-)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Peter Tieryas

    Here's an interview I just did with Monkeybicycle (an awesome lit magazine and imprint of Dzanc Books) about Watering Heaven http://monkeybicycle.net/52-weeks-52-... Here's an interview I just did with Monkeybicycle (an awesome lit magazine and imprint of Dzanc Books) about Watering Heaven http://monkeybicycle.net/52-weeks-52-...

  14. 4 out of 5

    Craig Wallwork

    In Watering Heaven, Tieryas successfully peels back the rind of life to exposure the sweet, and sometimes bitter, fruit that lies beneath, where chance meetings blossom into love, dialogue is so slick you fear your eyes may slip while reading, and the ordinary is a catacomb for a surreal beauty metamorphosing within. Being a keen fan of the short story, I found Water Heaven one of the best collections I have ever read. What Tieryas does in this collection is offer questions about love that many In Watering Heaven, Tieryas successfully peels back the rind of life to exposure the sweet, and sometimes bitter, fruit that lies beneath, where chance meetings blossom into love, dialogue is so slick you fear your eyes may slip while reading, and the ordinary is a catacomb for a surreal beauty metamorphosing within. Being a keen fan of the short story, I found Water Heaven one of the best collections I have ever read. What Tieryas does in this collection is offer questions about love that many writers dare not ask, and those that have ventured close, have done so clumsily in comparison. His ability to exposure our insecurities and thoughts is nothing short of genius. Yes, if love is the thread skewering these stories together, then loneliness is the needle punctuating each. In truth, it felt less like a short story collection and more a novel. The narrator had many voices, the stories different but united, merged and blurred but unique too. It was truly inspiring to read. I could break down the stories and give my favourites, but to do so would dull the magic and perhaps force you to gravitate to some more than others. What you need to do is go into this book blind, and discover through the skill of the writer, all the colours of the world; light will merge from darkness, the prosaic will be rendered strange and wonderful. Existential, smart, magical and dipped into beauty, a collection that will forevermore stain the fabric of great literature. Can't recommend this enough.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    I can't remember the last time a short story made my jaw drop so abruptly that I skinned it, but "Chronology of an Egg" did that to me. And that was just the first story. I've read many a story that uses a symbolic device or tries too transparently to be clever, but Liu's storytelling has a naturalness that's rare. What I appreciate about these stories is that they all seem to belong together, and most importantly, they come across as sincere. You feel the truth behind the words, whether they co I can't remember the last time a short story made my jaw drop so abruptly that I skinned it, but "Chronology of an Egg" did that to me. And that was just the first story. I've read many a story that uses a symbolic device or tries too transparently to be clever, but Liu's storytelling has a naturalness that's rare. What I appreciate about these stories is that they all seem to belong together, and most importantly, they come across as sincere. You feel the truth behind the words, whether they convey the pain of love or the sorrow over its brevity, and the magical realisms feel more real than magical. There's plenty of wonder to be felt, but these stories resonate because every reader can relate with the ambiguities of relationships, and the sputterings and burnouts that ensue between people whether or not chance meetings ever develop to that level. You'll discover tenderness here that will compel real emotion, and ponderings that don't try to offer answers but keep you rooted in the big question: why DO we exist? At times I felt that each individual character was merely asking a different iteration of this question, but that's what's so exceptional . . . that the question doesn't change . . . just our way of framing it. What could have been repetitious instead sings. You should read this.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Katy

    Please note: THIS IS NOT A REVIEW. This is some info I want handy for when I do write my review, but the "private notes" section doesn't let it all fit, so I put it here so I could find it again. But thanks, whomever liked it... :-) Placeholder, info: Synopsis: Watering Heaven is a travelogue of and requiem for the American dream in all its bizarre manifestations and a surreal, fantastic journey through the streets, alleys, and airports of China. Whether it’s a monk who uses acupuncture needles t Please note: THIS IS NOT A REVIEW. This is some info I want handy for when I do write my review, but the "private notes" section doesn't let it all fit, so I put it here so I could find it again. But thanks, whomever liked it... :-) Placeholder, info: Synopsis: Watering Heaven is a travelogue of and requiem for the American dream in all its bizarre manifestations and a surreal, fantastic journey through the streets, alleys, and airports of China. Whether it’s a monk who uses acupuncture needles to help him fly or a city filled with rats about to be exterminated so that the mayor can win his reelection bid, be prepared to laugh, swoon, and shudder at the answers Liu offers in this provocative debut collection. Here's also a brief bio: Peter Tieryas Liu has almost 200 publications in magazines and journals including Adirondack Review, anderbo, Bitter Oleander, Bookslut, Camera Obscura Journal, decomP, Evergreen Review, Gargoyle, Indiana Review, Kartika Review, Prism Review, Toad Suck Review, Word Riot, and ZYZZYVA, and was the recipient of the 2012 Fiction Award from Mojo, the magazine run by Wichita State University. He has also worked as a technical writer for LucasArts, the gaming division of LucasFilm.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Watering Heaven is an edgy, fast-paced collection of short stories mainly set in Los Angeles or Beijing. The protagonists are men, many of whom have some connection to video game development, who surround themselves around feisty, intelligent, independent women. Peter Tieryas Liu deals with such themes as workplace satisfaction, relationships, identity, acceptance, and death. While all of the stories stand alone, some overlap even if it's just in a small detail like the workplace. One of my favo Watering Heaven is an edgy, fast-paced collection of short stories mainly set in Los Angeles or Beijing. The protagonists are men, many of whom have some connection to video game development, who surround themselves around feisty, intelligent, independent women. Peter Tieryas Liu deals with such themes as workplace satisfaction, relationships, identity, acceptance, and death. While all of the stories stand alone, some overlap even if it's just in a small detail like the workplace. One of my favorite stories involves a young man who is reunited with his school crush thanks to Facebook. When he meets his crush, he is suddenly turned off. She's not as striking as he'd remembered. And during their date, she speaks of aliens and UFOs. He figures she's nuts, and desperately tries to leave dinner early. But then he has a change of heart. Sadly, it's too late. Watering Heaven is a quick read and a book that both Old China Hands and novices will enjoy.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Michael Seidlinger

    Beautiful collection of surrealistic and empathetic short stories. Let's hope Peter has another collection ready to hatch because I want more! Beautiful collection of surrealistic and empathetic short stories. Let's hope Peter has another collection ready to hatch because I want more!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Matthec

    I will be writing a review of Peter's book for Prick of the Spindle so I won't go into too much detail here except to say, 'Bravo'! Short stories are very difficult to write. Peter has a knack for using language crisply and efficiently. He says enough to hit you hard in the stomach with some of his descriptions. I love how he laces legends and myths into his stories, again just enough to make a point. Some of the topics described were 'out there' but that's something to enjoy in a short story... I will be writing a review of Peter's book for Prick of the Spindle so I won't go into too much detail here except to say, 'Bravo'! Short stories are very difficult to write. Peter has a knack for using language crisply and efficiently. He says enough to hit you hard in the stomach with some of his descriptions. I love how he laces legends and myths into his stories, again just enough to make a point. Some of the topics described were 'out there' but that's something to enjoy in a short story...to journey into a topic or theme that is unusual. In most of the stories the challenge of being alone comes through loud and clear as does the human emotion of love. I look forward to reviewing this book for Spindle.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Edward Rathke

    Loved this. Probably the best collection I've read since Craig Wallwork's Quintessence of Dust. My interview with Peter at Monkeybicycle. Loved this. Probably the best collection I've read since Craig Wallwork's Quintessence of Dust. My interview with Peter at Monkeybicycle.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rand

    These stories from the uncanny valley reveal images which revel in the borders of the real. Tieryas is a magician. Watering Heaven will give you cause to pause and collect your thoughts as they ebb and flow in the space between his words.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Squire

    A beautifully written collection of short stories ranging from the realistic to the surreal--all weighing in on the question of "what is love?". The first half deals with Liu's protagonists discovering their capacity for love in spite of outward appearances while the second half descends into the darkness of love lost with understanding coming only too late, or not at all. Not everything about Watering Heaven worked for me, starting with the clunky prosaic titles--they just didn't seem to convey A beautifully written collection of short stories ranging from the realistic to the surreal--all weighing in on the question of "what is love?". The first half deals with Liu's protagonists discovering their capacity for love in spite of outward appearances while the second half descends into the darkness of love lost with understanding coming only too late, or not at all. Not everything about Watering Heaven worked for me, starting with the clunky prosaic titles--they just didn't seem to convey the true import of the tales (though I can't think of a better title for this book than Watering Heaven). And the author's tendency to toss in an Asian legend towards the end of some of the works, thinking it would shed light on what was taking place. Finally, some of the later tales just didn't seem to have the punch of earlier ones. All that being said, this is a fascinating collection and some of the stories demand repeat visits. My favorite is the opening piece "The Chronology of an Egg"--a surreal piece about acceptance. Coming in a close second is "Resistance." I can't recommmend Watering Heaven enough and would be interested in reading more of the author's work.

  23. 5 out of 5

    David

    I did really enjoy the stories with the more surrealistic aspects in this collection. The description of those, after all, was what had pulled me into picking up the book to begin with. However, for some strange reason, the more realistic stories were the ones that felt the most surreal to me. I'm not sure what it was, the stories are different but there are some common threads. Some of the characters seem to transition between different worlds to the point that they don't seem really belonging I did really enjoy the stories with the more surrealistic aspects in this collection. The description of those, after all, was what had pulled me into picking up the book to begin with. However, for some strange reason, the more realistic stories were the ones that felt the most surreal to me. I'm not sure what it was, the stories are different but there are some common threads. Some of the characters seem to transition between different worlds to the point that they don't seem really belonging to any. Many find the ideas that define their existence hollow, but have nothing to use as an alternative. Often they strive for some kind of connection, which they sometimes find and sometimes don't. I guess those stories just made reality feel surreal. In any event, I loved reading all the stories in this book. They are all extremely good stories and there are moments, sentences, and such that are just downright jaw-dropping.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Hollie

    This review was first posted on Music, Books and Tea There was something that grabbed at my attention when Watering Heaven was requested to me. Perhaps it was the fact that I haven’t read much in terms of Asian fiction, or perhaps because it was described as a travelogue. Whatever it was, it sparked something in me. Watering Heaven is a collection of nineteen short stories, all with some connection to Asia, be it the setting or the characters themselves. There’s also a lot of Asian folklore includ This review was first posted on Music, Books and Tea There was something that grabbed at my attention when Watering Heaven was requested to me. Perhaps it was the fact that I haven’t read much in terms of Asian fiction, or perhaps because it was described as a travelogue. Whatever it was, it sparked something in me. Watering Heaven is a collection of nineteen short stories, all with some connection to Asia, be it the setting or the characters themselves. There’s also a lot of Asian folklore including in Watering Heaven, and I loved how these were included into the stories. They complemented each other well, and I thought that they were a fantastic edition into the stories. The stories wove together well too, not always with the characters featured but also with the settings and landmarks. I love it when stories do that, as I feel it really helps them to interlock together well. The writing in Watering Heaven is exquisite. And I really do mean that. There are so many beautiful quotes in this book. They didn’t feel misplaced within the stories either. Sometimes, a quote can be brilliant, yet stick out like a sore thumb for the wrong reasons. This isn’t the case with Watering Heaven, everything flows together seamlessly. My favourite stories, basically the ones that have stayed with me, were A Beijing Romance, Staccato and Searching for Normalcy. That’s not to say the others were bad, those three were the ones that made the largest impression on myself. A lot of these stories are incredibly thought-provoking, asking weighty questions and taking the characters through experiences that I hope to never have to go through myself. My one real complaint with Watering Heaven, and this is an extremely petty complaint that I have about nearly every single short story I read: some of the stories were too short. I know that’s the point of short stories, I honestly do. I just get so attached to the characters and their backgrounds that I want to spend more time with them, learn more about them and their relationships with others. I just get so frustrated reading short stories sometimes, it’s like getting a lick of ice cream when you just want to have the entire scoop. Watering Heaven also has some mature themes running through it, so this isn’t one for people who don’t like reading about sex or death. I didn’t personally have a problem with the themes, but I am all too aware that there are people that do. Overall, Watering Heaven was an interesting and, at times, thought-provoking read. Whilst it’s not something I’d have picked up off my own back, I’m pleased I got to experience the beautiful writing that is contained within these stories. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Marcus

    I absolutely loved this collection. Relationships and identity in a globalised world. The "new" China. This Peter fella can really write. He must have put in his 10,000 hours or more. HA! The craft is absolutely untouchable. Love the ease. Good writing that makes writing look easy. The kind of writing that is rare. The stories are so memorable. Sassy and heartbreaking. Witty and piercing observations. The dialogue could be cut from all these stories and made into damn good plays. The dialogue is I absolutely loved this collection. Relationships and identity in a globalised world. The "new" China. This Peter fella can really write. He must have put in his 10,000 hours or more. HA! The craft is absolutely untouchable. Love the ease. Good writing that makes writing look easy. The kind of writing that is rare. The stories are so memorable. Sassy and heartbreaking. Witty and piercing observations. The dialogue could be cut from all these stories and made into damn good plays. The dialogue is superb. These stories relieve my nasty mind/body split. These stories make me feel more compassionate. They don't talk down to me. These stories are embodied and full. Now and again some of the stories reminded me of the clarity of a George Saunders' story. Every word perfect. Surrealism in the service of emotional realism. Or maybe a bit of Raymond Carver. Sparse and economical prose. He's got his finger on the pulse. It is not George Saunders or Raymond Carver though. Or anyone else I have read. But think there is that kind of talent at work here. Talent is a weird word. I hardly ever use it. Reminds me of a talent show. But talent exists. I don't know what percentage is talent and what percentage is hard work. Everyone has their numbers. But there is more than hard work and craft here. I don't know what else to call it except talent. And maybe a bit of the zeitgeist. The other part of the percentages is dumb luck right? Dumb luck is what gets work noticed. That's what makes something blow up or whatever. And money. Maybe lots of money. Wish we didn't live in an overly marketed and saturated world and good shit like this received more attention! I will definitely read anything else Peter Tieryas Liu publishes. I hope he does publish more. I want more!! This is the writing and art and music I search and search for. The kind that wakes you up. And that's what I want. To wake up. To see clearly. To feel more alive. Thank you Mr Peter Tieryas Liu. Keep writing, please!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany

    Watering Heaven is a fantastic collection of stories all with a connection to Asia. Whether they were realistic or more on the magical side of things, they all demanded my attention. I was immediately sucked in by the story of a woman who lays an egg every time she has sex. Very strange! This story might have stayed with me the most throughout the entire collection. I wouldn't be against reading an entire novel based around this woman and her "curse" because it such an original and odd idea. Anot Watering Heaven is a fantastic collection of stories all with a connection to Asia. Whether they were realistic or more on the magical side of things, they all demanded my attention. I was immediately sucked in by the story of a woman who lays an egg every time she has sex. Very strange! This story might have stayed with me the most throughout the entire collection. I wouldn't be against reading an entire novel based around this woman and her "curse" because it such an original and odd idea. Another story that really grabbed my attention was Resistance, the story of a man trying to help his friend get out of a pretty serious situation. This story starts out with one of the best opening lines I have ever come across: "I’m inside an abandoned shopping mall and a hooker’s chasing me with a kitchen knife. It’s 6 a.m. Goddamn Martin for getting me into this shit." How could you even consider turning away from a line like that? I definitely couldn't. Each story has its own pull that sucks you in deep and plays with your emotions. Each character is dealing with something incredibly personal, whether it be love, loss or just trying to figure out what the meaning of their life is. Not only are the stories original and emotionally raw, but they are written so beautifully. You have no choice but to connect with each character and envision yourself in their situation. Liu has done an exceptional job bringing each of them to life with all of their imperfections for our viewing. If you are a lover of short stories like me or are looking for a deeper, yet shorter read. I highly recommend you pick up Watering Heaven. This is one collection that is going to stay with you long after you have turned the last page.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    A woman who has no reflection. Another who lays an egg every time she has sex! A man who refuses to kill the rats that take over his home. Another who completely changes his face. These are just a few of the uniquely creative characters featured in Watering Heaven, a collection of short stories by Peter Tieryas Liu. I don't generally read short stories, as regular readers of this blog can attest. But I must say I really enjoyed this collection. Of course, there were some stories I liked better th A woman who has no reflection. Another who lays an egg every time she has sex! A man who refuses to kill the rats that take over his home. Another who completely changes his face. These are just a few of the uniquely creative characters featured in Watering Heaven, a collection of short stories by Peter Tieryas Liu. I don't generally read short stories, as regular readers of this blog can attest. But I must say I really enjoyed this collection. Of course, there were some stories I liked better than others. But overall, this is an interesting assortment of outrageous yet often profound stories. I honestly feel that I need to reread some because I'm sure I'm missing some of the symbolism and messages Liu is putting forth. This is a not a happy or joyful look at life; most of the stories are more reflective and don't always end well. But the creativity and literary style that Liu employs is quite enjoyable to read (if you like that sort of writing). Some of the themes I see running through these stories are an examination of life and where we fit in, as well as disillusionment with jobs, relationships and life in general. The stories all interweave some aspect of Chinese culture, whether they take place in Beijing or refer to old Chinese folktales. This makes them even more interesting. I highly recommend Watering Heaven if you are looking for a creative, imaginative collection of short stories that will make you think about life.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    The author very kindly and generously sent me a copy of ""Watering Heaven" and I am giving an honest review in return. This book is a wild, weird ride at lightening speed....an eccentric collection of short stories that blend realism and surrealism magnificently. The stories are liberally laced with hyperactive, quirky conversations that often tip the balance of the reader's mind, and create the sensation that you have just stepped into that disturbingly odd dream you had a few nights ago but yo The author very kindly and generously sent me a copy of ""Watering Heaven" and I am giving an honest review in return. This book is a wild, weird ride at lightening speed....an eccentric collection of short stories that blend realism and surrealism magnificently. The stories are liberally laced with hyperactive, quirky conversations that often tip the balance of the reader's mind, and create the sensation that you have just stepped into that disturbingly odd dream you had a few nights ago but you couldn't quite remember it until now. Some of the stories are gloomy or creepy; others are touching or even funny, but all explore the emotion, the experience of being human - love, alienation, loneliness, loss - and most take place in Asia or explore Asian cultures. I didn't love all of the stories but I loved most of them, particularly, "The Political Misconception of Getting Fired," and the standout story, "The Chronology of an Egg." I believe I will continue to think about these stories for a long time...even when I begin to forget the details, I won't forget how they threw me off-balance a little, disturbed me, and continue to chip away at my mind. Great collection and I recommend it to readers.

  29. 5 out of 5

    luv4pez

    I almost stopped reading this after the first story, but I'm so glad that I forced myself to continue because it only got better from there. I love that every character in these stories are unique and quirky and they're struggling with love, loss, and questions about the future and their purpose in life. Some of the stories were a little odd (who knew motion blindness was a real thing!), but I really liked the originality in the stories and characters. There were so many honest and open observat I almost stopped reading this after the first story, but I'm so glad that I forced myself to continue because it only got better from there. I love that every character in these stories are unique and quirky and they're struggling with love, loss, and questions about the future and their purpose in life. Some of the stories were a little odd (who knew motion blindness was a real thing!), but I really liked the originality in the stories and characters. There were so many honest and open observations on how our society treats each other. I loved the characters because they had quirks and scars and they are like real people but with their idiosyncrasies celebrated. This is very smart writing; mixing science, medicine, pop culture, and writing together. I was pleased that he introduced me to new vocabulary words which is rare in books these days. As my other reviews have indicated, I'm a huge stickler for typos and spelling and grammar mistakes. There were two that I caught in this book. In the past I have rated books lower due to such errors, but two mistakes are not enough to lower this rating. These are great, interesting short stories that make you question the way you're living and the way you're treating those around you. I look forward to reading more from this author.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    Do you like your fiction in small, tantalizing, unexpected bites? If so, these short stories, many of which are quite brief – curious little capsules of wonderment – will move you to ponder such things as obsession, identity, extraterrestrial encounters, the limitations of levitation, and the philosophical relevance of the cleanliness-is-next-to-godliness argument regarding wholesale rat extermination. The stories take place in China – in urban high-rises, a clandestine basketball court in the F Do you like your fiction in small, tantalizing, unexpected bites? If so, these short stories, many of which are quite brief – curious little capsules of wonderment – will move you to ponder such things as obsession, identity, extraterrestrial encounters, the limitations of levitation, and the philosophical relevance of the cleanliness-is-next-to-godliness argument regarding wholesale rat extermination. The stories take place in China – in urban high-rises, a clandestine basketball court in the Forbidden City, an abandoned amusement park, a makeshift nightclub along the Great Wall. There is nothing commonplace about these stories.

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