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.