11 responses

  1. Kenny
    January 18, 2023

    What? Either I totally missed something or this fiction of some sort.


    • Rob Williams
      February 23, 2023

      It’s a true story, creative nonfiction, with the emphasis on ‘creative.’

      Her mother is not really an octopus, she’s using it as a metaphor. Telling the story of her family’s journey to America from Taiwan.


    • Dinty
      February 23, 2023

      The author was indeed a child who visited relatives in Taiwan in 1969. Children see the world differently, and creative nonfiction allows for the use of metaphor and imagery to capture perception. But the situation is nonfiction.


  2. Bethany Jarmul
    January 20, 2023

    Wow! You wouldn’t expect a nonfiction piece to start with “My mother is an octopus.” And yet, here it is, done so beautifully. Would this be considered speculative nonfiction? I’m not sure, but whatever it is—I love it!


  3. Nancy Halgren
    January 31, 2023

    Wow, Karen Kao, this is extremely wonderful! The rhythm of the words and flashes of scenes reminds me of sea grass waving in the incoming and outgoing tides. The children scuttling to and fro, past monsters and foe, and relatives. “We fart small bubbles of inky distress… she colors in love.” Just so beautiful, foreign but familiar. Thank you!


  4. Joseph C
    February 9, 2023

    It’s beautiful


  5. Ben
    February 21, 2023

    Wow. What a read.


  6. Teresa Burns Gunther
    February 27, 2023

    Gorgeous piece. Love the metaphor of mother as octopus. The piece is so alive and colorful. Nice read before I sit down to write. Thanks for the inspiration Karen!


  7. Lerojus
    March 7, 2023

    Yeah. Chills from reading. I never cease to be amazed by these stories! Thank you.


  8. Rebecca F Reuter
    March 16, 2023

    The last line!


  9. pnghq
    March 29, 2023

    Thank you for sharing this beautifully written and vividly descriptive piece about a family’s trip to Taiwan in 1969. The use of animal metaphors to describe the family members added a unique and intriguing layer to the story.


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