Vintage DB 111: Xu Xi’s “Kaspar’s Warp,” DB 20

Image by Vilhelm Pedersen, Public Domain,

This week’s vintage pick is a beautiful and poignant piece of realistic fiction explores the way the past can haunt us, and how it affects our choices down the road. Writer Xu Xi’s story appeared in our regularly featured fiction folio just a couple years back in DB 20, Winter 2015. The excerpt below will give you a taste of “Kaspar’s Warp” — scroll down for the link to the full story.

“Caspar was sixteen and what he most wanted was to move back home. He’d returned yesterday. Why he had to go to a prep school in Massachusetts, while his parents continued to live and work in Hong Kong, was beyond him. Time’s person of the year is YOU, he read, meaning the web and its worldwide connectivity. Dumb. Equating people with technology was like the one-legged soldier’s love for a dancer because he thought she was also, like him, one-legged, when really, her petrified state was just the arabesque. It was what you didn’t see that got you. Like Gu Kwun, his best friend. Bitten by a snake and dead at the age of seven. Ten years later, he was still in perpetual mourning, or something perilously close.”

Xu Xi is the author of eleven books, including five novels, five collections of short fiction & essays and most recently INTERRUPTIONS, an ekphrastic essay collection in collaboration with photographer David Clarke, released September 13, 2016 by the University Museum and Art Gallery at the University of Hong Kong. She is also editor of four anthologies of Hong Kong writing in English. Two new books are forthcoming — a memoir for Penguin Shorts’ series on Hong Kong, AN ELEGY FOR HK (2017); a short fiction collection INSIGNIFICANCE (Signal 8 Press, 2018). For her extended biography and more information about what she’s up to, visit

Click here to enjoy “Kaspar’s Warp”