Still Reading 许我向你看 (Let me look at you)

You don’t wanna know my day, or last night.  I… I’ve lost it.  My hubs is traumatized and he stayed with me in bed most of the day, cancelling our plans, and he doesn’t know in full of why the explosive mess in the kitchen.

I know I’ve experienced all these feelings rushing at me, flushing all my senses without abandon before….but this very moment, it’s like I’ve never had it this hard.  This book is very close in themes and trauma to another all-time favorite of mine: 生死桥 by Lillian Li PikWah
I felt like I’ve aged a decade…and my innards are so gently yet steadily twisted and mangled… it is irreversible.  I feel like I’m so worn, lifting a finger to turn another page is impossible…I’ve no more to turn anyway.

I’ve taken so many pauses last night pulling an all nighter, at times just to steady my inhales.  I drunktweet once or twice, I skyped my buddy a planet from me all the while unable to put the book down… it’s happened before with many novels, dramas, mangas, whatever that had me possessed.   At times, last night, I was aware and afraid I’m breaking down to pieces, I have a dull pain, bothersome lump of whatever that is residing and growing in my throat to heart region and it was a time bomb.  I went for a 15 min 2am jog (it’s a pretty scary thing tbh where I live in hindsight).  I’ve drank 3 bloody freezing shots of stinging vodka, finished the half bottle of wine in fridge, performed myself a zen tea ceremony of a huge pot of fav tea in hope for the dependable comforting.  I’ve eaten a lips-numbing ramen piling on the chili oil… nose and eyes, red and running.  I spent half an hour on a fancy chopped salad taking the time and care with every step, focusing on all the mundane washing, hand-chopping and dressing and tossing and munching sth so extremely remote from the lives of the characters, living in an unnamed Chinese metropolitan.  I thought stimulating my senses to real, physical extreme can show me an emergency escape.  Not working.

Not saying this is an utmost masterful piece of fiction on the merits of skill and design,  which can withstand the challenge of time and generations.   There are plenty of cliches, too often one can predict every character of the following pages of events.  But writer Xin YiWu has done it again,  giving me the sharpest, emotionally intense ride I can only describe w/ the Chinese saying: Life is the toppling of the five spices rack…where you’ll have sweet, sour, bitter, spicy and salty all mixed at once.  This book will stay with me and has taken me in as hostage.  I have a sudden disinterest in the persimmons I just got from a neighbor’s beautiful tree, I looked away when passing by today…and persimmon tree has nth much to do with the novel, really, it just reminds me of mandarin…and the heroine’s name and scenery and my eyes…get misty.   I didn’t full-blown cry though, there’s a very matter of fact control as things are laid out…just like how it really happens in real life, you won’t believe as dire as the happenings there are moments so unpredictable that I chuckled quite a lot in the middle of nursing a bleeding heart for everyone.   I’m swearing on my dear life I can’t reread this novel anytime soon, and I will hesitate reading a writer Xin’s work scared of the emotional toll…yet can I help it?  I’m helplessly drawn to the book all along, I tried out a chapter long ago and ended up reading nine.  I had 30 min to spare and I ended up an hour late reading a third…and last night, I was pushing beyond limit and my old bones will be paying for it the rest of the wk, the characters, the story, knowing the trauma…it’s not earth shattering in any grand scheme of things.  A dashing boy genuinely loves one girl his whole life and it cascades into a unforgivable mistake and the soul-shattering misfortune……one after another to the point I’m both shipping yet disgusted with myself pairing them up as OTP .  I get every pings and pangs, ripples and monsoons happening to every character and how it utterly, intensely crippled them like it’s happening to me and still know the pain and their past will hurt afresh as I turn the last page and part with them there.  I can’t help it but feel for and be attracted and desperately wanna hug and at the same time beat some sense into *coughtheholycrapoutofcough* a repeated ‘rapist’, that itself makes me need therapy…and feel every bloody twitch of all that entanglement of feelings for the victim/his goddess/that cold poor thing who’s pushed beyond despair and may not be able to…feel.  I was puzzled by the enormous withdrawn, fright, disgust, hopelessly, helplessly, an undying yearning for love, human warmth or whatever we call all of this from her in the beginning,  deadly curious as to WHAT transpired to shape her into this woman?!  I slowly and steadily do as we’re told by writer…and nth hit closer when I read repeatedly, each time with a better insight her seemingly banal wish of escape fr her past but what’s done is done…when I wished I haven’t read her past and what’s read is read.

How I survive relatively sane reading the book is a miracle in itself.  I’m still in awe how Miss Xin can inject the boldest intensity and encompass so much on the most fiery and destructive ecstasy and tragedy of life with her plain, straightforward prose.

All this my highest rec for the book I can muster.  I’m not faring well, very far from it.  I did curl up most of the day feeling like chills are eating me up and my limbs are made of lead and no twisting and turning will bring comfort or peace.  I’ll never be objective enough to give the book a much more deserving dissection and praise.

I’ve seen this quote from a review of the book everywhere,  it must’ve been cheesily printed on the back cover ‘ 一个女人,如果一生中没有读过一本辛夷坞的作品,那她的人生将是不完整的!’ ‘A woman, who hasn’t read a book by Xin YiWu, her life can not be complete!’  and I’ve scoffed and smirked and giggled and slighted it as the stale, blatant publicity load of crap.    I’m not sure (but I am)…this maybe the frankest austere words said of her books.
I’ll gather myself and recoup and I know I’ll be back rambling about my achy bleeding heart like I’ve never experienced before reading a MissXin’s book soon.  Too soon.  Or not soon enough.

9 thoughts on “Still Reading 许我向你看 (Let me look at you)

  1. I know how u feel. I couldn’t finish it. It was too gloomy and depressing. Im 3/4 into the book and stopped. Did u get to the present day yet or still in the flashback?

    1. SOULMATE!!! I’ve finished, all the epilogues and parts and every word. Frankly I dunno how, esp after the flashbacks, but I did. I’ve never read anything I so wanna quit sooooo many times, far from it being stinky bad…but I actively fear if I read another word/character, I’ll break myself.

      Do you hate HanXu? Part of me is still persuading myself I should…but I can’t. I can never, I think

  2. Yes, usually I drop books because it has bad plot progression or bad writing or bad something, but this one is really artfully written. I just can’t stomach all that tangled up and pent up emotions in the story, it’s so raw and feels like there’s a heavy cloud on top all the time.

    I only read up to the part where the little girl gets hospitalized and we enter another flashback about how Jue Nian came to adopt Wu Yue and JIe Jie’s daughter. I couldn’t hate Han Xu either, even after he took advantage of her during while she was drunk and when he wasn’t man enough to stand up for her in court to prove that she wasn’t with Wu Yue during the crime time. I felt more disappointment in him instead of hate. His whole stream of thoughts regarding if Jue Nian would just look at him and ask for his help than he would stand up for her were all excuses for him not taking the initiative, it shows his weakness. I can’t hate him because I just feel so much pity for him. I know that in the end Jue Nian decides to be with him, but I feel that it would still be because he’s the only one that was from her past (the past that holds Wu Yue). Did she ever fall in love with him by the end? I just want to know if the sun ever shined through the clouds.

    I’m picking up her 浮世浮城 next.

    1. I’m not sure if I have the balls to read another Miss Xin’s so very soon. But I have just uploaded everything she’s written on my ebook… maybe I’ll read 浮世浮城 next.

      What you hypothesized was what I was darn sure as well, but it’s not entirely. I’m not sure JN can love…which in any other case would be beyond tragic, but for her, peace and living a ‘normal’ life maybe a higher priority than everything else, even clinging onto the past where the book drops off. She did find a closure of sorts but HanShu gets more questionable/challenging….even for my endless pity for him later on. I think it’s my loyalty at play, I’ve been charmed by him and he’s still able to do good 99% of the time till the end so I can never hate him, but that 1% of his dark, selfish, obsessive to a violent side is appalling and I can’t really deal with it. I read on as if I was slowly stabbed in my heart by every page naively thinking it couldn’t get worst for them (and me)…but it did. Rest assured, it’s no lazy nor simple cop out just for a ‘happy ending’. I think it’s progressed marvelously even when some bits are very obvious (and others quite shocking) as it goes in the last stretch.

      I have now seriously read 2 Miss Xin’s book wholeheartedly and she has a thing for very charming and dashing heroes with a deep dark unforgivable flaws/weaknesses. And I’m not sure how to think of men, however perfect they are in everything else, forcing themselves on women, because I honestly will label her books as contemporary fiction/romance and very far from trashy romance (which I don’t put on the judging cap at all) and quite seminal for the 80ers generation…YET this is the second main lead I have come to know and understand and be charmed and cared very much for at least half the book then….BAM! (Spoilers for To Our Fading Youth: rem the scene of Lin forcing himself in ZhengWei in latter bend?! I’ve still not come to peace with that tbh)

      And it shakes me the most… I can, to a great degree unbeknowst to me, see and get where HanXu is coming from. He is weak and he’s a spoiled selfish manchild in the core: stunted growth in the romance dept since that tragic fateful day. So when he’s denied the thing he wanted the most and he’s done every means necessary to a heartbreaking degree, he snapped and it’s human *as in I can’t see a lot of guys in his shoes able to not do what he did*.

      BUT ‘sth he did’ in the very last arc…I griped and it’s been on my mind haunting me. I’m still not sure how to make sense of it, even when he’s completely swoonworthy at the absolute ending of the story.

  3. Come on mookie, you are a brave woman, lol. Normally I dislike sad 虐死 storylines. I prefer happy, funny & cute books. However this book & a few others are the exceptions. 原来你还在这里 is mostly a happy book but I think it might be too tame for you, heehee…Warning 我在回忆里等你 has a sad ending so maybe your cup of tea. I didn’t read it bcos my shattered heart has not healed yet so I don’t want it to be broken again:) 浮世浮城 is maybe an in between but I read this book isn’t as well liked. In my opinion her skill slowly improve & peak with 许我向你看 then slowly falls.

    Oh HS, how I love & loathe you. After reading my comments at the book bar, I think my feeling for him is something similar to your feeling? Bcos I was so charm & in love with him, his fall felt like a betrayal of my trust & shattered my soft heart:( Then I started to make excuses for him to enable me to hang on to my love. He was young so he made mistake. He is under 18 so no need to go to jail, just get detention:P He loves JN very much, is very much haunted by his action & tried very hard to make atonement. Since JN seems to be able to forgive him so can I. But when he did it again, I am not sure how to feel & what more excuse I can come up with. I guess I feel rather disappointed & disillusioned:(.Sorry, my Mandarin isn’t that good so I am not sure if he attempted to force himself on her or he did that the 2nd time? Btw I didn’t hear LJ did the same thing to Wei Wei. Either that bit got censored in the audibook or I fell asleep, haha…Btw HS is much hated & loved at the same time in baidu so this is one controversial character. B4 this book, I listened to another audiobook recommended by Chancy who also has a rapist leading man. In that book, I find it very hard to relate or forgive that man. Maybe bcos I’ve double std for handsome, sweet, cute & talented guy who have captured my heard from the beginning, lol.

    1. I actually have you to ‘blame’ sweetie! I think it’s in one of your passing remark saying this is most depressing\that got me curious to pick it up when I shouldn’t time-wise….because when I feel out the book before I dl it after I heard some hearsay Miss Xin modeled YH after HanShu, and I was almost instantaneously attracted to the character and the part of the book on anything Zhu XiaoBi is somewhat lighter and spiffier, I have no hint it’ll go sooo soo gut-ripping.

      Yes, I think my feelings towards HS is very similar to yours. At first I was soo bewildered and part of what’s fueling my addiction and most probably most of the unspoiled readers is WHAT happened in their past for JN to be this extremely stonecold towards HS?!?!?!? No 17, 18 yo mistake can be soo soo horrible, or I can only see through my rosy glasses HS can not possibly do anything so soo disgusting to push her to this edge, there must be misunderstanding! BUT knowing the truth of it all, everything makes so much sense, esp JN’s stance. Yes, 11 years transpired and gathering her true feelings and how it is presently affecting her, that horrible thing he did is not affecting her daily life no more directly, she can see it herself where he’s coming from and why he did it and see it as there’s nth to forgive…but really this is nth someone can ever forget as if it didn’t happen and start anew with that same person under any circumstances…just like as much as she desires the most, she has no second chance with WY, ever. And this is where I understand why the progression of the second time is almost ‘necessary’. HS is not gonna change, there are things he can improve upon and grow more mature, he’s almost perfect in every other aspect as an upright contributing member of society but this is his ‘Achilles’ heel’ when it comes to his control over JN. He just desires and loves her this bad this intense enough to hurt her and more so himself. He has tried all means to atone his sin he’s felt truly sorry for for 11 years, not even JN is doubting his remorse on that, BUT when all bridges are burned, he’ll use the samevenom to heal a poisoned wound…like in wuxia. It’s an all-in gamble where they may possible both perish, but he’s willing to risk it, even JN’s well-being, betting on that sooo soo minutely possible hope this may snap her out of her miasma of grieve and not letting go of the dead. She is the one who is refusing to step out of the torture, as if feeling it is her only sense of being alive, of WY being alive and with her, when he’s long been back to the dust as white bones.

      They are both so beyond shattered it takes this extreme to ‘mend’ and heal. If JN is not absolutely pushed beyond numbness, she will of course like the rest of us still be disgusted and revolted with what he’s done, but I can’t stop but think what if that capacity of feeling is already stripped from her? What if after the years of absolute woe and destitute, this is a very twisted way of letting her feel she’s still of flesh and blood and can feel everything humanly physical like a normal woman?! I dunno, but it makes sense and it’s only with HS’ stubborn childish pushy machismo/sexism that can really shake her and wake her up, given there’s a ‘comfort’ with how well they know each other physically like no one else, it is forced, but within a boundary she know she’s not truly in harm’s way? *I’ve never been as uncertain of not making an iota of sense!!!!! SIGHHHHH*

  4. Oh, I am so sorry for being the culprit of your downfall:P In future, I’ll recommmend more depressing novels to you to help you build up your resistance, lol. It is bcos the more we love, the more we are hurt & need therapy to recover. Chancy & raini were not that emotionally invested in the characters in the book so they can easily abandon the book. It took me a few times to get into the book. When you read my comments, you can see I wasn’t that interested in the book at the beginning. But once I reached a certain point, there is no turning back:(

    When I started this book, I didn’t read any spoiler except it has a happy ending. At the beginning with Zhu XiaoBi, the book feels light hearted. I was charmed by HS easy going personality & obssession with JN. Oh, my prince charming in white horse (car) stalking & waiting outside the girl’s hse, so romantic:P I started to get curious of the past so I marathon & skipped some WY chapters then the bombshell dropped. HS becomes the prince of darkness. Just like his dad, his good & upright appearance belies a petty, jealous, selfish & coward heart. Thus, I stopped reading the book & went to baidu to read many comments supporting HS. I wanted to abandon HS but when I read so many reasons to justify my continue support, I soldier on. How he suffers from constant nightmares & guilt, how he helps JN & FM etc soften my heart towards him & rediscover my love for him.

    What you wrote abt him needing to do it a 2nd time to awaken JN makes perfect sense yet it doesn’t really sit well with me. What he did to his dad is also subject to debate. What is he trying to prove? I know his dad did wrong but he is his dad. As someone who shares a very close relationship with my dad, I doubt I’ll be able to do what he did even if my dad is corrupt. He did that to uphold justice or to atone for his past in not standing up for JN or both? Also, he knows JN doesn’t love him yet he is willing to accept such lukewarm feelings. HS is such a complex & imperfect guy. At the end of the day, like HS, I’ll delude myself that he is a flawed human being who deserves my love & fangirling, haha….

  5. I want to read this book [许我向你看 (Let me look at you)] in English. Can you help me to find the link for this book?

    1. Hihi!

      I’m not sure if there is an English version (even if it’s fanslation) available (sorry dear). Miss Xin is not a big name author yet, and this is quite recent a publication. Online novellas usu are not regarded as proper literature, sadly.

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