Now Reading

Everything drama-wise I’m watching is putting me to sleep almost instantaneously.  Me scared coz that’s so not how I roll.

YET… I can’t put down 许我向你看 by Miss 辛夷坞.  At this rate this novel may surpass To Our Youth That’s Fading Away in my heart.

I didn’t make a dent on my J-classics read-list in a previous post, underestimating how insane my schedule was on ‘vacay’.  I started on Shunkinsho and finding the English translation inferior to the Chinese trans I’ve read long ago.   The cadence and lyricality of prose lost in the prior, but intact enough through the characters shared by the Asian languages.  I have nth objective to base this on of course, but it was particularly fascinating when terms in Kanji can vary in a controlled spectrum from what the Chinese characters visually evokes in me.

I find 许我向你看 even harder to put down than To Our Youth That is Fading Away.  I’m already much more intrigued by it 1/3 in. It’s a longer novel, the tone has an unadorned yet unbearable lightness of …doom from the get-go.  It never delves into melodramatic, even when the events are heartbreaking, the characters are alarmingly cool and collected given what they’ve been through at the tender age of 29 when we met them in present time.  There’s just a talent Miss Xin has that takes you THIS comfortably close to the characters we are not spared the comfortable distance to judge them…but just feel them  as intimate as an almost first-person narrative does.  What is most captivating is I don’t feel the need to analyze whether I like or dislike a character because most importantly they are flesh and blood alive to me, and no caricatures,  and to my delight no wimps, no damsels in distress, no knights in shining armor in their strict cliched sense.

There’s also the style of Miss Xin I so adore, there is a natural crispness to her use of words, it’s soothing yet with a whiff of lingering pain…of youth. Her words are not miserly to build an aloof ‘stylishness’ like a Yi Shu (aka queen of contemporary CN romance).  While I adore Lilian Li’s most witty mastery of words, it sometimes is so fanciful with too much wry whimsical wit, distracting from a focused narration. There is an effortless directness with Miss Xin’s plotting, the emotional impact appears light and insignificant at first, haunts, resonates and cascades into a climax, only explosive when writer designated.  Yet, humor will still be interjected, Life (of our characters) still goes on.   There won’t be unnecessary wowing twists and turns. I am rest assured where she’s leading me step by step along the way,  with the clarity of what exactly she wants me to feel for the characters at every moment of time the story unfolds.

I’m not sure if the book’s title is taken from the old song by the same name originally sung by famous 1930s songstress 周璇

The lyrics r so apropos though:

許我向你看 向你看 多看一眼 我苦守著一個共同的信念 今天才回到我的面前

許我向你看 向你看 多看一眼 我渡過了多少寂寞的春天 今天才伴在我的身邊

你的面貌還像當年 我的苦痛已積滿心田 你不讓我吐露一言 只能對你多看一眼

許我向你看 向你看 多看一眼 我渡過了多少寂寞的春天 今天才伴在我的身邊

Let me look at you, look at you…for one more glance.  We’ve been keeping the same faith.  You are just back in front of my eyes today.

Let me look at you, look at you…for one more glance.   I’ve been through too many desolate springs, till you are back by my side today.

Your face is still the same, my pain has filled up my heart.  You won’t allow me to spill a word, I can only take another glance at you.

Let me look at you, look at you…for one more glance.  I’ve been through too many desolate springs, till you are back by my side today.

I rem the song fr a Brigitte Lin’s movie and her rendition:

This novel, is darker and more ambitious, themes are much more adult, a lot of boulders were thrown on our characters before we met them…objectively quite makjang, borrowing the term fr Kdramas, yet how the characters have been dealing with the absurd (shxt happens in RL too…) situations is infused with a lot of appropriate sense and humanity, and that’s how we find out for ourselves the charm of each of them, not by paragraphs of writer’s own lofty praises.  I appreciate not being force fed how perfect the hero is and thus all girls should worship his feet (though hero is STILL gorg and smart and successful and an all around good guy and rumor has it Miss Xin the YuanHong fangirl had him in mind writing).  Even though the hero is still as close to perfection, and he’s deeply in love with our heroine, I have never for once fantasize a want for him.  I ship him with heroine…though I’m also very fine if they are not meant to be.  And that’s the beauty of it.  *This is the first time I’m reading with such a super clear exact visual of what the hero is like before diving in, knowing my Loverboy inside out, plus I also have the perfect heroine in mind: TangWei.  And they r PERFECTTTT to a tee for the role both in looks and skills and age…everything.  So either don’t adapt it EVER, or gimme my dreamship of YH+TW!!!!!!!!  I won’t take anything in btn!!!!!!!!!!!!!*

I had a hard time at Eslite HK finding the novel proper,  my guess it wont have any translation in any other language in print esp considering Miss Xin is still an up and coming lesser known young writer. :/  What a pity.

4 thoughts on “Now Reading

  1. I read your comment at the book bar & ran over here immediately, lol. I am glad you like this novel & is as haunted by it as me:) Chancy isn’t that keen on this novel whereas I am obssessed with it. Like you, I didn’t sleep many nights & days while listening & after finished listening to it. I’ll still relisten to some parts to feed my addiction, haha..I think I’ve it worse than you because I listened to the audiobook which exemplify the melancholy feeling tilI 虐死:( I can’t read Chinese yet I browsed baidu to read comments & used google translate to read another of her book 原来你还在这里. I was like a crazy woman haha…

    I agreed with what you wrote that WY doesn’t love JN as man & woman. His love is probably more of deep brotherly love. Although they’ve many shared experiences & background, it doesn’t mean he has to love her as a woman. Many a time, opposite attracts like how HS feels for JN. Whereas woman being more emotional and sentimental will probably be like JN loves WY since they grew up together & shared many treasured memories. I wonder if JN will choose HS if WY didn’t die but ended up with CJJ or/& she didn’t go to jail. Btw did you read b/w the lines that JN was pregnant but suffered a miscarriage in prison? Baidu readers wrote 3 points to support such conclusion.

    From what I read in Baidu, a lot of ppl shared your opinion that YH is appropriate as HS & TW as JN. Unfortunately JN wlll be played by张俪. I don’t know who she is so no comment. I am not overly keen on it being filmed as the drama will usually not meet my expectations. However, I’ll be happy if YH get to be HS eventhough HS is far fr being perfect:P

    I am listening to 浮世浮城 audiobook & is more than half way thru. That book is not as melancholy & more humourous but I read it’ll turn 虐 soon. The plot isn’t as dramatic or interesting & more characters driven. I’ll recommend you to listen to the audio book as you might be bored reading the book. Eventhough I am only half way thru, I feel that book will definitely not top 许我向你看.I read 原来你还在这里 which s XYW’s first book so her writing is raw but pure. She reissued it with some modifications but I don’t advise you to read the revised version. She has a new book coming soon which will focus on the woman owner of the curtain shop where JN works. I am looking fwd to that book bcos I wanna read more on my HS & JN, heehee….

    1. Can you read Chinese? Let me just get these few pages fr To Our Youth out of the way. *it’s…their MLing* It’s around ~200 out of 257 of my copy:


      第十九章 快乐是多么容易的事情(4)






















      If you can’t read it. This is Chapter 19… it’s not rape, per se, but he forced himself on her when she tried to push him away and is very much in shocked.

    2. And oh Peanuts Peanuts Peanuts!!!
      I love love love this novel on the most intense emotional ride alone, I’m still in shock with how much I’m affected by it. Seriously there’s nth better to describe it as 虐死, it’s just that when I’m so beyond affected, simple tears fail me and this book, because the characters are so used to dealing with their fate and dense fog of gloom as it’s so convincing they’ve been living with it for a bulk of their lives, plus by the nature (and ‘nurture’) of JN, she just does not let it get explosively out of control on the surface ever. Thus, in turn I’m not provided with any release, it’s all pent up and suffocating . I can’t be sure I won’t be even more rabid than you because I have not yet get a footing (I’m a zombie just barely catching up on lost sleep!)

      So true, and also even if is a generalization, I think more girls are able to fall in love through the building up of a long term friendship, internalizing, analyzing it, ruling everything out otherwise..shaping the closeness into a relationship, whereas guys are more leaning on that instantaneous attraction, shortness of breath…some hard to miss physical ramification of the attraction on their being.

      I got JN was pregnant…it was quite obvious to me with that bloody horrible accident in jail and how it’s brushed off so vaguely in the records…and when JN asked HS to burn incense too…esp when he said he can only do so for his dead loved ones. I didn’t get the third clue! *haven’t got time to go on full obsessive mood at Baidu!!!!!!!BUT will do*

      And that’s why I’m so having an extremely hard time, kudos to Miss Xin, coz my biggest peeve in romance novel is ‘rapist’ protagonist. No means no, and that’s my bottom-line. IF I’m JN, I can never ever forgive HS, maybe for that drunken night, but no way for the selfish cowardness at court…and subsequently the most horrible miscarriage…AND he has to do it again ‘to proof his point’. Yes, it’s effective in snapping out her delusion of WY is with her, but it’s sooo sooo horrible and traumatizing beyond my capacity to imagine. But then after mualing over it since Sunday, I concluded JN can never have a normal normal state of mind, and that tough superlady is fine with it and had the genius EQ to still make the best out of it. She’s not sure she’ll ever love HS but that’s not what she set out to do…HS’s presence in her life is ‘perfect’ in their tattered way because it’s a true breathing reminder of her past YET she’s bravely moved passed the nightmare of it, being able to enjoy a new comfort of him by her side as a companion.

  2. Thanks for the excerpt. I can’t read Chinese but I can always use google translate to read for me:) Oh, this makes me knock a few points off my fondness for LJ, lol.

    Hey, I am also crazy abt this novel & kind of happy that I found someone to share this obssession, haha….I was like you before, barely eating or sleeping, floating around like a ghost, heehee… With some therapies I am on the mend but what you posted reignited my fire:P I relistened to some part again last night & my heart started to ache:( Anyway, don’t worry, you’ll heal slowly when you start to watch YH’s new drama or Binnie is discharged from the army. Btw, as part of my therapy, I’ll be flying to Korea soon to visit him, haha…

    Raini, another girl at the book bar who read this book with us but didn’t like it as much & I think didn’t finish it posted a comment in reply to your post. She doesn’t like JN’s indifferent character. I think it is this very reason that makes this book & me feel so much more sad. If she is bubbly or strong then I’ll probably feel better. As you said bcos she repressed her feelings so we can’t find any release for our own pent up feelings except rant & rave here with you:)

    No need to go to baidu, I can tell you the 3rd clue. I memorized everything that can be remembered abt this book, lol. Remember, HS tried to ask the mum for help in saving WY’s daughter? He wanted to pass off that girl as her own child but in the kitchen while washing the dishes, his mum replied she is not convincingly. You go & check back this part as I can’t translate it into English well:(

    Is the ending a happy one? Don’t know why I don’t feel it this way. Although it is hinted they’ll be together, will they be happy with the way they are feelings & all the things that happened in the past? Actually I don’t feel happy for them but sorry for them:( I guess it is a realistic ending. I notice XYW has this tendency to end with the old one, just make good of a bad situation. Wei Wei & JN in the end chose to be with someone who is part of their past, someone who’ve hurt them instead of braving it out & make a clean start with the unknown.

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