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《平凡的世界》- Highly Recommended Reading


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  • 1 month later...
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Still reading that book. Call me soppy, but I find some episodes are heart-breaking, in particular when the author talks about the plight of women, eg 孙少安's sisters. Or the way  润叶 is bullied into marrying someone she does not love. And now this unexpected turn of event: all along chapter 43 and before, 孙少平 is depicted as a caring person, able to rise above the pack and to demonstrate empathy in an environment where people are often fierce with each other, and willing to forgive and save the day of a girl who dumped him and even to risk his life to save the life of a handicapped girl - but at the end of chapter 43, when that lame girl overcomes her shyness to give him a love letter, "脸上露出温和而讽刺的笑容。他把侯玉英的信揉成一团,正准备随手扔掉……".


Is it a problem with my Chinese? I don’t get how you can stick those two words together: "温和" and "讽刺".


The "讽刺" part seems in total contradiction with what we know about 孙少平. Or maybe 路遥 is subtly qualifying each personality trait by the other and telling us that 孙少平, after all, is an average person, i.e. reliably unpredictable.


It's also true that 玉英's love letter has a number of materialistic overtones (and spelling mistakes) but then again, in such an environment and period, as can be seen with the sad story of 润叶,  love definitely comes second after the material aspects of marriage. On the third hand, I don't believe 侯玉英 was somehow forced by her parents to write that letter; I'm convinced she's sincere.


Anyway, I thought that episode was so sad.


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  • 2 years later...

I came across this big fat interview with Cai Xiang, literary scholar and former editor of a literary magazine. He says a lot of interesting things, not all of which I agree with but all of which are worth thinking about, but the reason I'm posting it here is that the interview starts off with a discussion of Lu Yao's work. Might be interesting for some of Lu's readers.

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