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

Sun Yisheng / Nicky Harman

1980的情人 (lit. 80s Lovers)

Novel by Yu Xiaodan.

“Her name was Mao Zhen.” Central character Wen’s opening recollection thus sets the stage for Yu Xiaodan’s bildungsroman about a student and the woman who proves to be his most challenging course of study. Weaving stories within stories, 80s Lovers is at once the tale of a young man’s coming of age in a brave new world, a portrait of a young woman with a heart buffeted by both guilt and passion, and triangles drawn by types of love that defy categorization. Set among the universities of Beijing during the heady days of China’s liberal awakening of the 1980s, Yu’s restrained and elegant prose brings to life a heart-wrenching ballad about the living trying to survive in the shadow of suicide.