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

Sun Yisheng / Nicky Harman

鸣指 (lit. An Instant)

Novel by Lu Yang.

A densely written, introspective novel about one man’s search for his lost girl-friend. Part novel, part poem, part essay, An Instant is enigmatic in structure: the protagonist appears as several different men while the women characters are also basically the same person. Has been called a poet’s novel, a novelists’ novel, and an anti-novel, for its oblique approach and focus on mood rather than dynamic narrative. One of Lu Yang’s students has apparently described it rather like the scene of a car crash when all the casualties have been taken away and all that is left is a crowd of onlookers and a mess in the road. A labour of love – Lu Yang took 9 years to complete it – it was rejected by numerous publishers as being unmarketable, before finally hitting the bookshelves in 2007 but has now won admiration from critics for the precise beauty and poetic rhythm of its language, and the author’s subtle description of the feelings of the protagonists.