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 Liu offers in this provocative debut collection.
Peter Tieryas Liu’s debut collection probes the membrane of modern meaninglessness in consistently passionate and original prose. With its robust inquiry into “love’s very anatomy,” Watering Heaven underscores the babble of the global village from inside China’s Forbidden City to inside the bacterium of the hand that holds the ubiquitous videogame joystick. Liu’s brave new world comes at us full-force with a spinning Blade Runner intensity, keeping us guessing as it keeps us on the edge of our postwar, pre-apocalyptic seats. Encore! Encore!
–Leza Lowitz, Author, Green Tea to Go: Stories from Tokyo
A surreal menagerie of short stories that sometimes veer into the realm of magic realism, Peter Tieryas Liu’s Watering Heaven explores the lives of those drifting in an existential sea that is our urban post-modern landscape. Whether set in Hong Kong, Beijing, L.A. or New York there is something both slightly haunting yet inviting in these tales of love and loss, connections made and broken, but never forgotten. Mr. Liu displays a deftness in his writing that is both the sensitive and intelligent. He’s a writer to look out for.
–Sang Pak, Author of Wait until Dark
Peter Tieryas Liu’s debut short story collection Watering Heaven is edgy, clever and memorably innovative. He masterfully treats his panoply of characters—an eccentric but lovable production assistant from Shanghai, a photographer of urban legends, a corpulent engineer with the solution to cold fusion, a bacterium spliced into a billion-celled organism called Habit, a failed suicide artist in love with a with a failed food artist—with a vibrant swirl of wit, compassion and astonishing respect. Liu’s untainted directness of language, his richness and precision to detail, as well as his surreal brilliancy and vulnerability reminds one of the very best of Borges, Calvino, Pynchon. Here is an author who singlehandedly breaks the sun in half with sheer novelty and song.
–Leonore Wilson, Author of Western Solstice
Exuberant. Wildly inventive. Grungy, grimy, gritty with global resonance for the 21st century, Watering Heaven boldly treads where devils fear to go. This debut collection of madly manic fiction rides bareback over the rocky metaphysical divide that is Asia (especially China) and the U.S.A. And the journey is bleakly compassionate. These are curious fictions, bordering at times on meditations about the unpredictability and possibility of existence. In particular, the problem of love is always at the forefront, as people meet and part, vanish and return, die and resurrect in a horrific relationship to the blatantly, and even grotesquely, physical. An astonishing energy prevails throughout the collection. This is definitely a writer to watch.
–Xu Xi, Author of Access: Thirteen Tales and Habit of a Foreign Sky
Peter Tieryas’s ear is expertly attuned to the zeitgeist–the tangle of our social networks, our cubicle culture, the language of science–but the brilliant, haunting stories in Watering Heaven are always leading us somewhere deeper yet: that fathomless reservoir of human need and longing. Like flashing neon signs with some of their letters shorted out, Tieryas’s characters are sundered, yet continue to function, their messages unmistakable as they urgently attempt to communicate with one another and us, again and again.
–Tim Horvath, Author of Understories and associate Prose Editor for Camera Obscura
Brief Bio: Peter Tieryas Liu has almost 200 publications in magazines like the Adirondack Review, anderbo.com, Camera Obscura Journal, Evergreen Review, Gargoyle, Indiana Review, Toad Suck Review, Word Riot, and ZYZZYVA. He was the recipient of the 2012 Fiction Award from Mojo, the magazine run by Wichita State University, and also worked as a technical writer for LucasArts, the gaming division of LucasFilm. By day, he’s a VFX artist who has worked on movies like Men In Black 3 and Alice In Wonderland. You can find him at www.tieryasxu.com as well as traveling the world with his wife, searching for things no one else has.