Ming Tsun’s Thousand Crimes by Tom Lin, a fire and blood western that combines magic and esotericism

Ming is a killer, but not just any. “natural killer” raised by a somewhat unusual adoptive father, “this dog” Silas Root as his enemies called him. Ming, of Chinese origin, has only one goal: to find all the boys “he stole it” life and Ada to tear them apart one after the other. A motivation strong enough to carry him forward despite all the pitfalls.

Realism and the supernatural

And there are many obstacles in Ming Tsu’s life. A free and bloody journey through an arid and viperous land, an over-excited quest for identity, Ming Tsu’s Thousand Crimes It tells us a story of life and death with revenge and love, the pursuit of filthy outlaws, each with characters crazier than the other, taking all the tricks of the western codes, but wrapping them in the author’s hot sauce, China before moving to the United States with his parents.

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A mythic West, torn apart, scrawled with a tight, fierce and red script. Everything works to the millimeter, moments of pure realism and the supernatural darkening this saga of yesteryear. Get off your horse.

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But back to the story of this born killer. Or almost. At the age of eight, his adoptive father Silas gives him one of his secrets: “Death is always mercy”. We’re sure there’s definitely something less scary and more relaxing about pulling the trigger after that, if you know the other person will love being freed from the face of the earth. Ming shoots his pony. He saw it as his only and true murder. Thinking of everything, Sila dresses her in a long braid. Go make one Chinese stand out from the rest with this hairstyle! “Nobody paid attention to me. I remember him, Sacramento, the dark houses I sneaked into, the hands that weren’t mine were covered in blood. » Then Ming, who is still Ming, will use his body with thousands of other Chinese Central Pacific RailroadThe company that made the fire horse, the train in the 1860s. “Demon” But he makes up for it ad nauseum: “I was born in California, I’m an American. »

Corpses and a circus troupe

We find him later when Silas dies. He is dead “Limitless Man”. The prophet says so. A genius second character in a gallery of men and women—two in all—plays Tom Lin throughout his story. The old man is blind, but he does better than that. He predicts. “Death is not for tomorrow,” said “Men without Hudu”. The duo gets hitched and meets a circus troupe. A group of wonderful people who create miracles. There’s the tattooed Proteus, the deaf and mute kid Hunter Reed, and the refractory woman Hazel Lockwood. He will be the one to protect them until Reno. Then he becomes Mr. Tsu.

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But Ming is radioactive. Lord’s hairy creatures saw in him a rare species of their own, rather than a cougar or a snake that spared him in the sandy soil. But it is for men. It’s a pin grenade that attracts toughs like flies to a cow’s ass. Ming has a kill list that he crosses off every time he hits one. And the corpses were strewn in the path of this motley band led by the ringmaster, Monsieur Loyal, like the Lord and his flock.

The land of America has not yet been eaten by these land-hungry men, these men who never go out unarmed. But he did not have the last word, and the prophet is his mouthpiece through messages that resonate today as a thinly veiled threat. “Oceans flow back to dry land and then back to oceans. Continuous cycle of flood and drought. In time these alkaline deserts will again be submerged under the deep sea, and these meadows and dry grasses will be drowned in waters teeming with unknown life…” The descriptions of nature reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy, but the bloody blackness of the characters belong to this young author. And the climax of this violence explodes when the giant Huxton attacks the prophet. “With one silent movement, he wields the hell blade…” Outlaws have their own sense of justice. This is not for ordinary people. Ming Tsu did what was necessary. He buys a ticket before boarding the train.

Ming Tsu’s Thousand CrimesBy Tom Lin, high quality translation by Doug Headline, Editions La Noire/Gallimard, 416 pages, €24.

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