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We at Paper Republic are a collective of literary translators, promoting new Chinese fiction in translation. Read Paper Republic is a free online publication initiative for readers who wonder what new Chinese fiction in English translation has to offer and would like to dip a toe in the water.

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One Day, One of the Screws Will Come Loose

by Li Jingrui, translated by Luisetta Mudie

李静睿: 《我相信会有一颗松掉的螺丝钉

53

li jingrui

I was a news reporter for eight years before I quit my job. For three of those years I sat daily in the gallery of the Intermediate People's Court in Guangzhou, listening to cases. A criminal trial might last for two or three hours, with the verdict and sentence announced in a 15-minute hearing several months later. During that time, I watched a big-shot drug dealer do everything in his power to protect his wife. I witnessed a pair of lover...

Gu Jieming – a Life

by Han Dong, translated by Nicky Harman

韩东: 《古杰明传

52

gu jieming

Twenty years ago, I left Gaoliang to go to university. In the autumn of the same year, my parents also left, to go home to Nanjing. They’d spent nine years of the Cultural Revolution in Gaoliang. Four of my friends from middle school helped my parents with packing up, and Gu Jieming was one of them. No doubt he threw himself into the job, his army-style, olive-green jacket soaked in sweat, the droplets pearling on his shoul...

The Heart, Too, Broken

by Li Xiuwen, translated by Karmia Olutade

李修文: 《心都碎了

51

li xiuwen

Oh, can there be a dimming of lights? Can these sheets be just a little softer? Can the bacchanalia outside this house be quieted? It is already very late, but people are still clamoring for more pleasure beneath the torchlight of the threshing floor. They have even drunkenly moved the feasting tables and set them upon the fresh mounds of glistening grain. And in the midst of the revelry, some have already tipped their glasses, s...

Moonlight in the Lotus Pond

by Zhu Ziqing, translated by Peter Richardson

朱自清: 《荷塘月色

50

zhu ziqing

For the last few days I have been feeling quite unsettled, but when I sat taking the air in the courtyard this evening, my thoughts suddenly turned to the lotus pond that I go past every day. It must look quite different in the light of the full moon. And so, with the moon gradually rising and the sound of children’s laughter in the street fading beyond the wall, I left my wife in the house stroking Ruan and crooning folk tunes in a daze, q...

Return to the Great Northern Wilderness

by He Jiahong, translated by Emily Jones

何家弘: 《重返“北大荒”

49

he jiahong

After many years away, I am finally returning to that part of north-east China known as the Great Northern Wilderness. As I stand between the two tall, familiar mud buildings, the Great Barracks and the Great Mess, I feel a rare excitement. But it is shaded with anxiety and unease.

The old company commander seems happy to see me. He calls his company of young people together to listen to me give a talk in the Great Barracks. This is ...

The Bathtub – Scene of a Struggle

by Han Dong, translated by Nicky Harman

韩东: 《浴缸——武斗现场记

48

han dong

A white bathtub lies on a patch of green grass,
A dark window, its glass shattered, gapes above.
The bathtub was thrown down from there.

How strong do you have to be, to lift a bathtub
High in the air and hurl it through the window?
…he imagined a bathtub-throwing monster

The bigger boy thinks of a girl
Sitting, naked, in the bathtub.
The brilliant white bathtub reposes on the grass
A terrible, full cur...

Dark Alley

by Wang Anyi, translated by Canaan Morse

王安忆: 《黑弄堂

47

dark alley

The gloom of the dark alley is partly a result of being hidden from the sun, partly the effect of popular embellishment. Everyone who grew up in the alleys has heard the threats from their parents – “Fuss, and I’ll throw you into the dark alley!” – and been scared into silence. When that generation became mothers and fathers, they used the same words to frighten their children. Two generations of rumor had, you might say, created the dark all...

The Floor of Pipes

by Cao Kou, translated by David Haysom

曹寇: 《管道层

46

Cao Kou

The thirty-fifth floor of this building is known as the floor of pipes. This is how Wang Li referred to it on the phone. She did not actually say the thirty-fifth floor. Wang Li is presently in an office on the floor of pipes, and I am going to find her.

The regular work lift goes only as far as the twenty-sixth floor, so getting to the floor of pipes necessitates squeezing into a different lift alongside workers with their building mater...

Self-Portrait

by Zhang Xinxin, translated by Helen Wang

张辛欣: 《自画像

45

ZhangXinxin

Thirty years ago (am I really so old?!) I was considered to be a totally self-obsessed writer. The novels I wrote were all about me. You can say what you like, I smile.

Twenty years ago I started to write an autobiographical novel. About me. With the title Me. As I was writing, I began to understand why some authors write autobiographical novels in the way that artists paint pictures of themselves. The image of oneself mirrored in one’s mem...

Ying Yang Alley

by Fan Xiaoqing, translated by Helen Wang

范小青: 《鹰扬巷

44

Fan Xiaoqing
Illustration by Zhang Ruihua

The sun was shining warmly on the walls and on the ground, and three old ladies were in the yard enjoying the sunshine. As their faces turned a rosy pink, a small child ran in, saying,

“Grandma Tang, you’ve got a visitor.”

“A visitor for me?” said Grandma Tang, “Now who could that be?”

“I don’t know”, said the child, “it’s an old man.”

One of the ladies giggled, with a toothless grin, like a child.

The ...

An End of Days Story

by Fei Dao, translated by Alec Ash

飞氘: 《一个末世的故事

43

Fei Dao

When mother was little, she told father she wouldn’t marry him if he were the last man on Earth. This wounded father deeply. Driven by grief and indignation, working with a bleak resolve, he became a resident space station maintenance worker. From tens of thousands of feet up in space he kept a solitary watch over the planet, distancing himself from humanity, from Earth, and from mother.

Later, when father was the last man on Earth, mothe...

The Motherland's Starry Skies (& six more poems)

by Shen Haobo, translated by Karmia Olutade

沈浩波: 《祖国的星空

42

shen haobo

Someone in Tokyo
is watching the cherry blossoms fall,
cinnamon red.
Someone is watching snow fall in Beijing.
A few branches from the pagoda trees along East Drum Tower Street
always crack under the weight
and fall upon the muddied sidewalk each year.
Someone in Paris
is lighting a heart-shaped candle for the dead.
Someone onboard a plane is cloud-watching.
They are white as snow,
each with their deep and shallow divots,
as if they...

Snow

by Xu Xiaobin, translated by Natascha Bruce and Nicky Harman

徐小斌: 《

41

xu xiaobin

The first heavy snowfall of the winter. A blanket of snow stretched out before her, not a tyre track, a fallen branch, a stone, or even so much as a feather to mar the view. The landscape was a snowy relief sculpture, beneath a sky the ashy grey of a Levitan oil painting. There was a profound, eerie stillness.

The stillness shattered at the ring of the phone.

‘Is this Ms. Luo? I’m calling from the Municipal Propaganda Department.’

It was ...

Chronicles of the Ancient Village

by Na Zhangyuan, translated by Nick Admussen

纳张元: 《古寨往事

40

na zhangyuan

IN THE HISTORY of Palisade Village, the winter of 1938 was an exceptional one. In front of the glazed-over eyes of the village’s residents, events of lasting importance fell neatly into place, as if somewhere in the shadows an invisible, omnipotent director was manipulating their fate. Afterwards, they would remember the events of that winter and shrug their shoulders at their own stupidity. What’s done is done.

To the people of the ancie...

Dummies

by Hon Lai-chu, translated by Karen Curtis

韓麗珠: 《木偶

39

dummies

Dummies: wooden replicas of human beings; expressionless companions popular since the late 90s.

Only those who are truly familiar with City 8 will know that the biggest attraction of this city is not the litter-free streets, or the dazzling night-time illuminations, or the cut-price shopping; it is that once inside its borders, visitors can promptly let their faces go, so that their facial nerves, which at any other time are prepared fo...

That Damned Thing She Said

by Fu Yuli, translated by Nicky Harman

傅玉丽: 《一句该死的话

38

fyl

Why had she said that? Xiao Xiangxiang was secretly annoyed with herself. Of course, Bun-face must have got the idea she was trying to seduce him. The lift rose upwards, the indicator light winking at her. It seemed to be reading her thoughts. Xiangxiang looked down, her back tensed. Bun-face had his hand there, holding her lightly. There was a very masculine smell in the lift. Her toes gripped the floor through her shoes. She had been surp...

Backflow River

by Jia Pingwa, translated by Nicky Harman

贾平凹: 《倒流河

37

jpw

Backflow River had two small towns on its north side and three on the south side. If you wanted to cross the river, there was no bridge, only Dumbo’s boat. So, when people got to the river crossing, they yelled: ‘Bring the boat over, Dumbo!’ And Dumbo put down his water pipe and poled across as hard as he could. He was not as strong as he had been, but there was a hawser strung across the river which the boat was roped to, so it was unlikel...

Hopelessly Blind

by Zhou Kai, translated by Eleanor Goodman

周恺: 《盲无正

36

Zhou Kai The last blind man in Blind Village had disappeared. That day and night Bright and Shiny lay in bed eagerly awaiting the dawn. A commotion was filtering in from outside, but Bright didn’t want to break the silence for fear of being punished, so he stayed in bed. Shiny peeked through the crack in the doorframe. He saw raised torches and candles floating through the air like fireflies, the faint lights boring little holes into the darkness. Shi...

A River Full of Glass

by Qiu Huadong, translated by Robin Visser

邱华栋: 《里面全是玻璃的河

35

Qiu Huadong It was a Saturday and the weather was especially fine, so Feng Bin decided to go fishing. He hadn’t been fishing for a long time, mainly because his wife was pregnant, so he had to spend a lot of time at home taking care of her.

They had been married for five years. Last year after buying a house in this upscale development, his wife, a fashion designer, decided she wanted a child, and soon got pregnant. Now with her due date just one month...

Journey to the West

by Wu Cheng'en, translated by W J F Jenner

吴承恩: 《西游记

34

Monkey

On the Coiled Snake Mountain the

Gods Give Secret Help

In the Eagle’s Sorrow Gorge the

Thought-Horse Is Reined in

Monkey looked after th...

Apery

by Sun Yisheng, translated by Nicky Harman

孙一圣: 《猴者

33

Sun Yisheng

Father was not a mountain, nor is this the story of a mountain. The mountain facing the village looked exactly like a great conflagration. Last night’s rain did not extinguish the mountain but it did drench our spirits. Father, who was dripping wet, did not die at the beginning of the mists. The mists shifted the mountain further away. But we heard Father open fire, and the firing brought the mountain nearer again.

No one believed that Fa...

The Cry of the Deer

by Han Dong, translated by Nicky Harman

韩东: 《呦呦鹿鸣

32

han dong

It was inexplicable. My wife had given birth to a deformed baby. He had no hands. Where they ought to have been, there were just two little fleshy lumps. My wife cried her eyes out, and I was really sad too. The instant I saw him, it was as if my ‘inner eye’ lit up and I foresaw a future of unrelieved hardship and misery.

The tests showed that neither the wife nor I had any problems, so it wasn’t an inherited defect. The doctors thought t...

Sunshine in Winter

by Shi Kang, translated by Michelle Deeter, Killiana Liu, Juliet Vine and Helen Wang

石康: 《冬日之光

31

Shi Kang

1

Liu Xiaomin had had a driving licence for three months. She had also had a brand new Honda sedan sitting in the garage for three months – her husband’s gift for her thirty-fifth birthday. He was the same age as her, but was getting so bald that he looked in his sixties. As the first winds of winter blew the leaves from the trees, she said, ‘How about taking me driving? Forget the match. I can see why people play football, but watching i...

Piano Twilight

by Chen Cun, translated by Michael Day

陈村: 《琴声黄昏

30

chen cun

When I look out the window in my room, I see a wall. On the other side of the wall is a junior high school. Each morning, loudspeakers blare out staccato blasts of sound. When my mind is unsettled, I stand at the window, look out on the schoolyard, and watch the students running endlessly back and forth. Only the afternoons are silent.

As I have said before, I am in love with the twilight, with the sun setting in the west, with the golden l...

Mahjong

by Feng Tang, translated by Brendan O'Kane

冯唐: 《麻将

29

feng tang

Shang Shu had made up her mind: she was going to get married as soon as she could, before she became a shengnü – a leftover woman, an old maid, married to her career.

“And I’m going to marry money,” she added, “whatever it takes.” The consulting team I headed was out eating dinner, and Shang Shu made her announcement through a mouthful of Shuntak-style char-siu, the roast pork a perfect balance of lean and fatty meat.

“What d...

Mr Jodhpurs

by Lao She, translated by Tony Blishen

老舍: 《马裤先生

28

lao she

The train had not yet left Peking Station. Mr Jodhpurs, who occupied the compartment’s upper berth - jodhpurs, spectacles, a dark satin western style jacket with a writing brush tucked into the breast pocket, and feet resplendent in dark velvet slippers - asked, very amiably: ‘Did you get on at Peking?’

I was slightly taken aback. The train hadn’t moved; if I hadn’t got on at Peking where on earth had I got on?! I could only counter-attac...

Venus

by Chen Xue, translated by Josh Stenberg

陳雪: 《维纳斯

27

Chen Xue

The silence of night falls on Phoenix’s room, it’s sometime in July, the dog days, it’s hot and stuffy outside, inside with the air-con on it gets down to 26 degrees, just the right temperature for an exchange of secrets.

Mum and dad are just behind the wall in the main bedroom, but it’ll be alright. At three o’clock in the morning, the despairing and the hopeful are both awake. The world is so quiet that even the sound of breathing seems ...

Dreaming of My Father

by Liglave A-wu, translated by Kristen Pie

利格拉乐.阿[女乌]: 《梦中的父亲

26

LiglaveAwu

I have been seeing my father quite a bit in my dreams over the last six months. These dreams are so vivid that several times I have woken up unable to tell if it was a dream or a memory. He appears just as he was before he died; a fearful-looking old man with snowy white hair, a swollen body and a stern expression.

It is fast approaching 20 years since my father died. Children born in that year have finished their military service and are a...

The One Who Picks Flowers

by Liu Qingbang, translated by Lee Yew Leong

刘庆邦: 《挑花儿的

25

LiuQingbang

Around this place, to praise a girl’s beauty, one doesn’t need a superlative, one merely says: ‘Ah, there’s one who picks flowers’. ‘The one who picks flowers’ being local idiom, directed at the fairer sex; not, mind you, referring to ‘flowerpickers’ who embroider floral patterns, but used especially to describe a girl of outstanding looks. The phrase brings instant clarity to the minds of those who hear it; one sees, in a flash, Spring’s f...

The Young Couple

by Shen Congwen, translated by Canaan Morse

沈从文: 《夫妇

24

Shen Congwen

One evening at dinner, Huang, who had moved to X___ village hoping that the quiet would cure his fragile nerves, was feeling helpless in front of a dish of bloody stir-fried chicken his host had made him. Suddenly, he heard a cry from outside: “Come on, come on! Come see what they’ve caught!”

The voice was urgent, as if something serious had occurred, and soon the whole village echoed with equally anxious responses. Even Huang, who had ne...

Disappointing Returns

by Yan Geling, translated by David Haysom

严歌苓: 《妈阁是座城:赔钱货

23

The Mei family was different to every other Chinese family. People might have whispered about them, saying they got what they deserved, but the members of the Mei family didn’t care. Or rather, the women of the Mei family didn’t care, since for five generations there had been no men to speak of. Not since the time, five generations back, of an ancestor whose maiden name was Wu, who was called Mei-née-Wu by the other villagers, and who was know...

The Thinkers

by Liu Cixin, translated by Joel Martinsen

刘慈欣: 《思想者

22

He could still recall how he had felt thirty-four years ago when he saw the Siyun Mountain Observatory for the first time, when the ambulance crossed the mountain ridge and the main peak appeared in the distance, its domed telescope roofs reflecting the golden light of the setting sun like inlaid pearls.

Back then he had just become a trainee brain surgeon after graduating from medical school. He had come to the Observatory as a phys...

A Second Pregnancy, 1980

by Lu Min, translated by Helen Wang

鲁敏: 《1980 年的第二胎

21

The main reason for my mother’s lowly status in the family, and for her poor relationship with my grandmother, was that my grandfather, my grandmother, my father, and my mother herself, had always wanted a boy. My family was not unique; this was what everyone wanted. Unfortunately, I turned out to be a girl. My grandmother doted on me, but the situation was far from ideal: my father had been the only son in the family, and there was the questi...

Xie Bomao R.I.P.

by Lu Min, translated by Helen Wang

鲁敏: 《谢伯茂之死

20

Another letter arrived for Xie Bomao. The neatly written characters—in a small, regular script written with brush and ink—were instantly recognisable. And there, as always, were the same four characters at the bottom of the envelope: “Sent by Chen, Nanjing.”

Li Fu held it in his hand and stared at it. These letters troubled him. He tossed it carefully into the pigeonhole on the left, where he reckoned there must be another twenty, maybe thirty...

My Name is Ding Xiban

by Wu Qing, translated by Julia Lovell

乌青: 《我就是丁西拌

19

One evening, as I lay in bed, I suddenly felt stricken by shyness. It came from nowhere – I’d just been lying there on my own. And this wasn’t your average, common-or-garden kind of shyness – it was of a completely different, chronic order of things. It was like I was the shyest person in the world.

As soon as I began to think of how shy I was, I began to feel even shyer, until I thought I might die of it. I lay there sleeplessly, thinking o...

"Autumn Night" & "A Splendid Tale"

by Lu Xun, translated by David Haysom and Karmia Olutade

鲁迅: 《野草

18

In my backyard, I can see two trees standing outside my walls. One of them is a jujube tree. The other is also a jujube tree.

The night sky above this scene is strange and high. I have never seen a sky so strange and high. It is as if he is about to depart from the land of the living; people would no longer see him when they lift their faces. But for now, it is exceptionally blue, steely, beaming the eyes of dozens of stars. The...

Sorrow

by Dai Wangshu, translated by Anna Gustafsson Chen

戴望舒: 《烦忧

17

Say it’s the grief of lonely autumn
Say it’s the longing of distant seas
If someone asks about my sorrow
I do not dare to mention your name.

I do not dare to mention your name.
If someone asks about my sorrow
Say it’s the longing of distant seas
Say it’s the grief of lonely autumn.

烦忧

说是寂寞的秋的清愁,
说是辽远的海的相思。
假如有人问我的烦忧,
我不敢说出你的名字。

我不敢说出你的名字,
假如有人问我的烦忧
说是辽远的海的相思,
说是寂寞的秋的清愁。

There is Nothing to Bind Our Hearts Together

by Sabrina Huang, translated by Jeremy Tiang

黃麗群: 《无物结同心

16

Their dreams were growing shorter and shorter.

Some mysterious force had caused their dream worlds to collide one twilit evening. They dreamed themselves a white house with a blue-tiled roof, washed over with dappled light and gusting winds, in the middle of a plain set ablaze by the setting sun.

In the dream they were young, clear-featured and slender. Because they retained memories of the real world, this pair of lovebirds seemed even mo...

Crows

by Cao Wenxuan, translated by Helen Wang

曹文轩: 《乌鸦

15

In China, the crow has always had rather a bad reputation. It’s a sinister bird, a harbinger of misfortune. In Chinese films it’s always there in the bleak wilderness, or the shadow-strewn graveyard, or on the branch of a lone gnarled tree behind an old residence. The moment it utters that single cry, so shrill and hoarse, a sense of danger, of terror, rushes through us.

Exactly what it is about the crow we can’t say for sure. But it’s one o...

Bone Down

by Jacky Yuen, translated by Jiang Chenxin

熒惑: 《骨落

14

In forty days and nights a TV antenna can go up
like a rack of fish bones choking the throat of the highway and hills
it's slender, lethal—horizontal in a city that grows vertically
Are you going to swallow me or nurture me? I even learned how
the sea breathes:
when the roaring tide surrenders its last breath to the calm
I unfurl myself into the world's funeral flag
hung over the Lion Rock Mountain, calling to every breathing shadow
I watch th...

Keep Running, Little Brother

by Lu Nei, translated by Rachel Henson

路内: 《阿弟,你慢慢跑

13

My little brother, Wu Shuangfeng, was born in 1984. The day he was born, Dad was doing overtime at the factory. Nan and Granddad were at home playing mahjong. The baby had shown up on the ultrasound as a girl, so Dad’s side of the family weren’t particularly bothered about the birth. They already had one girl, me, and having another would be a complete waste of our child quota; we wouldn’t be able to try again even if we wanted to. But when th...

Painless

by Yerkex Hurmanbek, translated by Roddy Flagg

叶尔克西·胡尔曼别克: 《无痛

12

Nobody in the village noticed that my brother’s six-year-old daughter had chewed off all her fingers. Only her little palms were left, like two tiny shovels. But more mobile and fleshier, with a child’s warmth. She took bowls of food using her palms like pincers. The sight stopped her mother’s heart for an instant; the right ventricle blocked and wouldn’t let the blood through so the breath caught in her throat. It was a bit like when their pa...

1966: Locomotive

by Wang Xiaoni, translated by Eleanor Goodman

王小妮: 《火车头

11

This is a story about a lonely little boy. It is 1966, and he is eight years old.

It’s autumn, and the boy is walking along the railroad tracks on the thick black railroad ties. He’s lonely and travel-weary, his feet hurt from the crushed stones that poke through his worn-out shoes. He knows he must keep walking. He doesn't know that someone is looking for him, a man in a hat with a red armband on his sleeve.

The man in the hat leans his b...

Sissy Zhong

by Yan Ge, translated by Nicky Harman

颜歌: 《钟腻哥

10

For the Zhongs of South Gate to have a son like Sissy seemed like a huge joke, at least to the folks of Pingle Town.

‘Sissy’ was just one of their disparaging nicknames for a man who was spineless, or slippery, or just plain shameless – in other words, not a proper man. There was ‘sponge’, ‘snot-sucker’… and ‘sissy’. That was for a boy who was so girly it was just gross.

Sissy Zhong was certainly girly. As a child, I used to see him mincin...

A Woman, at Forty

by Zhang Ling, translated by Emily Jones

张翎: 《女人四十

9

Today was Luosi’s fortieth birthday.

The alarm went off at 7 o’clock exactly.

Luosi lay in bed a while, before getting up. Her legs felt heavy. Sitting on the side of the bed, her eyes shut, she swung her legs back and forth until her feet caught hold of her soft-soled embroidered slippers. She dressed, still struggling to keep her eyes open and smothering her yawns. When she drew the curtains the sun was shining brilliantly. Her neighbour...

Missing

by Li Jingrui, translated by Helen Wang

李静睿: 《失踪

8

Ten o’clock in the morning, thick grey smog. I’d been to buy some crabs at the Baliqiao wholesale market, and on my way back checked the mailbox at the entrance to our apartment complex. I’d already checked it at nine on my way out. In the past two and a half months I’d checked the mail more than ten times a day. I checked whenever I went out to buy food, and when I took the rubbish down. I’d developed a bit of ...

Regurgitated

by Dorothy (Hiu Hung) Tse, translated by Karen Curtis

謝曉虹: 《吞吐

7

The collective desire of City 64: To exit from the entrance.

The news that a son had been eaten came at three thirty-three in the afternoon.

At first the news was no more than a current of air brushing past the old faded clippings on the Democracy Wall and the apolitical colors of the national flag. Everything was scattered by the breeze like blossoms in azalea season. The professor bent down, and then further down, to pick up a broken fin...

The Death of Zernik

by Zhu Yue, translated by David Haysom

朱岳: 《泽尔尼克之死

6

I am going to tell of a man slain in a duel, and the name of the man was Zernik.

There was something absurd about the circumstances leading to the duel. One cold winter’s night, Zernik emerged from a tavern, somewhat inebriated, and set off against the freezing wind towards the dock. All was dark at the time, but for the faint glimmer of lanterns on a few of the freighters. Zernik came to a halt at the waterfront and gazed out at the inky bl...

Mister Lover

by Wang Xiaobo, translated by Eric Abrahamsen

王小波: 《舅舅情人

5

While Gao Zong lived, the four seas were calm, the empire knew peace and prosperity, and all the world’s goods flowed towards its capital. Chang’an was, at the time, the most glorious city on earth. Within its walls stood the emperor’s palace, its countless sumptuous halls adorned with painted pillars and carved beams – neither the Caliph of Baghdad nor the Persian emperor had seen their like. Emperor Gao Zong possesse...

Binary

by Zhang Yueran, translated by Jeremy Tiang

张悦然: 《二进制

4

This is how it works: 0 moves to 1, and 1 moves back to 0. An endless cycle.

0.

In April I returned to the town of B, to Mountain Lake Road. Before coming back, I’d been living in the middle of a dank forest, writing my novel with a pen like a twig. I saw no one. Sleep was the only visitor to come between me and my writing. Each time it afflicted me, I fell into a spiral of dreams that deposited me on Mountain Lake Road, yes, that wide roa...

January: Bridges

by Dorothy (Hiu Hung) Tse, translated by Nicky Harman

謝曉虹: 《一月:桥

3

The crimson mothers live in a crimson sea. We, island-like, still live on the city’s island. In January’s cold blast, we lean out of our windows. Quarter past three in the afternoon, and everyone in the street has a coating of frost on their lips. If they open their mouths even a little, they cannot close them.

‘Everyone has become a silent, broken bridge. A musician stands on every bridge, eyes lowered, surrounded by young female flesh, his...

The Road to the Weeping Spring

by Li Juan, translated by Lucy Johnston

李娟: 《通往滴水泉的路

2

There was a time when the Osman Path was the only road to the weeping spring. Osman Batyr was the famous "King of Altay” of a century ago.

Up until then, all roads had stretched far around the edges of the vast Gobi desert. They formed a fragmented and fragile course through folding mountain ranges, connecting the faraway oasis of Altay with the grasslands and snowy mountains of the south. No one could travel across the barren centre of the ...

Who's Speaking Please?

by A Yi, translated by Michelle Deeter

阿乙: 《您好

1

Zhongwei had been in a daze ever since he came back home. There was still a dent in the centre of the pillow. The covers had been twisted by the snake-like grip of their legs. One flip-flop was in the bathroom, and one was just outside the door—she liked to walk around barefoot. The glass of water stood on a table, half-drunk. His underwear and shirt were folded beside the bed. She’d worn them while sitting on the windowsill early that morning...