“You’re stepping on my shadow, please back off,” she said.

Sun Yisheng / Nicky Harman

Excerpt from Empire of Glass


For weeks, Wang’s fellow Beijingers spoke of the New Year. How in just a few days they’d board the crowded eastbound trains to the capital. How they’d trade Gansu’s dry winds for the Gobi’s sandstorms. But not him. No, he sat every morning on his cliff, looking east, wondering where he could possibly go for the holidays this year. The possibilities were numbered:


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