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482,709 Characters to Go



Today I finished reading the novella 《偶然事件》 by 余华.


The story is about a mysterious murder. In what appears to be a crime of passion, a man suddenly stabs another man to death in a coffeeshop, then hands himself over to the police. Much of the story consists of letters written between two witnesses to the murder. Following the coffeeshop murder, the witnesses become inadvertent pen pals, writing letters back-and-forth in which they opine and argue over the murderer’s motives, revealing much about themselves in the process. There are also narrative sections that provide a backstory for the characters involved in the murder.


《偶然事件》 is an easy read, easier than 《活着》. There is plenty of dialogue, and even the letter-writing sections have a breezy, conversational style to them. The story is OK.


Link to 《偶然事件》:



Some statistics:

Characters read this year: 517,291

Characters left to read this year: 482,709

Percent of goal completed: 51.7%


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