In this reissue of Dan K. Woo’s debut novel we meet Little Comrade, a young woman at the mercy of the fates in the fictional country of Quina. Framed as an advice booklet, Letters to Little Comrade takes us on a dystopic journey that circles around Little Comrade’s attempts to find happiness and purpose in her life, whether by finding fulfilling work, finding love, by pleasing her parents or by leaving her country.
With chapter titles such as “Keep Calm, There Is Hope,” “Exercise Is Healthy for the Spirit” and “Too Much Romance Is Unproductive” the author moves effortlessly between the bracing tone of a self-help book and the bleak story of Little Comrade. Woo also skilfully weaves in social commentary on gender relations, worker exploitation and government propaganda, with matter-of-fact descriptions and fatherly advice. The resulting book is a captivating and tragic story with a nameless, yet unforgettable, heroine.
About the author
Dan K. Woo's family came to Canada in the 1970s. His grandfather was a fire captain and the first firefighter to die on duty in British Hong Kong, partly a result of the British colonial system. In 2018, Woo won the Ken Klonsky Award for Learning How to Love China (Quattro Books). His writing has appeared in such publications as the South China Morning Post, Quill & Quire and China Daily USA. A Toronto native, he lives with his partner in the city and writes in his free time. He is currently studying at the Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst and SANS Institute.