An Introduction by Tiffany Troy to “The Love Experiment,” from The Metaphor Detox Centre by Sheng Keyi, translated from the Chinese by Bruce Humes


This selection from The Metaphor Detox Centre captures the imagination and wit of novelist Sheng Keyi. If the freedom in free society involves the ability to speak the rivulets of the mind, then Sheng’s world, where patients are treated for the “Metaphor Malady,” is a dystopia where institutional power holds reign.

Author & Translator Biography


Sheng Keyi is a contemporary Chinese novelist. She has had ten novels written published, including Northern Girls, Death Fugue, Wild Fruit, The Womb, and several short story collections. She’s won several literary awards including longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize 2012. Her works have been translated into English, German, Italian, French, Swedish, Czech, etc., with write-ups and reviews by The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, The Los Angeles Review of Books and The Guardian, etc.


Bruce Humes is a translator of contemporary Chinese fiction and non-fiction. Since his first translation, “Shanghai Baby,” was a best-seller two decades ago, he has rendered novels by and about the non-Han peoples of China.  They include “Last Quarter of the Moon,” which documents the tragic twilight of the reindeer-herding Evenki, and “Confessions of a Jade Lord,” featuring an insider’s look at Uyghur jade mafiosi in Xinjiang. He is now working on a silk road travelogue by a Manchu diarist.