It is National Short Story Week, so this week’s posts are all about short fiction. This includes finishing off my story-by-story blog of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists 4 anthology, which I’ve let fall by the wayside these last few months. I have fives entries left, so let’s get back to it…


‘Interim Zone’ is an extract from Xiaolu Guo‘s forthcoming novel I Am China; on the basis of this, the new book is set to be rather different from Guo’s previous novel, UFO in Her Eyes. We meet Kublai Jian, a Chinese refugee in France, and see the contrast between his boyhood in Beijing, and his current life learning French. This piece is the shortest in the Granta anthology, perhaps a little too short for what it’s doing. Still, there’s an effective sense that Jian is in an ‘interim zone’ emotionally as well as physically; and the juxtaposition of past and present sets up an interesting theme that I imagine is explored further in the novel.

This is part of a series of posts on Granta 123: Best of Young British Novelists 4Click here to read the rest.