Bestiary is the story of three generations of Taiwanese American women, narrated in alternating chapters by Daughter, Mother and Grandmother, and woven with myths and stories from Taiwanese folklore. One day, Mother tells Daughter the story of Hu Gu Po, a tiger spirit who longed to have a woman’s body and eat children. Soon after, Daughter wakes up with a tiger tail; holes dug in their backyard start to spit out letters from her grandmother; and she slowly falls for another girl, Ben, as they translate the letters together and find out about Daughter’s ancestors and their stories.
I wish I could give a better summary of this story, but it’s honestly so weird that I just don’t know how to do it.
Had we been telling the truth, he would have said, The place where I’m sending you – it looks beautiful, but it’s haunted. Okay, I would have said.
Mila has been in foster care for the last few years, since the day her stepfather died in a fire and her mother abandoned her. Eighteen years old and alone, she accepts a job as tutor in an isolated farm in North Carolina, hoping to finally find a real home. The owners have a history of adopting their foster children, after all, so there’s a chance they might make space for her as well.
What Mila doesn’t know is that at night the farm is alive with ghosts, and as painful memories start to resurface, she starts to question whether there’s a reason for the ethereal figures playing and dancing in the fields, and whether this might really be the place for her.