By Jesse Anderson
Anderson’s debut novel introduces readers to a writer of lucid, hallucinatory prose worthy of comparison with Roberto Bolaño, Cormac McCarthy, and José Saramago. Loosely based on events that occurred during the Chinese Civil War, The Western Contingent follows a group of forty-eight young men who unexpectedly find themselves recruited for a mysterious mission deemed vital to their country’s future prosperity. After undergoing a brief period of training and indoctrination, the peasants-turned-soldiers leave their hometown of Luan hungry for their first taste of combat. Doubt, however, soon sets in. Their colonel shows signs of mental instability, the people they’re supposedly fighting for treat them with indifference, and the purpose of their mission, as they continue marching west, only becomes more and more unclear. Anderson’s debut novel introduces readers to a writer of lucid, hallucinatory prose worthy of comparison with Roberto Bolaño, Cormac McCarthy, and José Saramago.
Jesse L. Anderson is a writer and translator originally from Olympia, Washington. His fiction and poetry have appeared in various literary journals and online, and he has translated fiction by Sébastian Brebel, Aude Seigne, and Jean Echenoz, among others. He lives in Mexico City.