Beijing fluttering in white, this novel will bring you aftertaste

Beijing fluttering in white, this novel will bring you aftertaste

This novel returns to the innocent and sentimental 1980s. Through the presence and speech of people of different identities, the meticulous description of Beijing’s customs and events has formed a noisy tone, even if it has not been experienced. Readers in the 1980s can also specifically feel the simplicity, vigor, idealism, and the ambiguous and obscure feelings between men and women of that era.

“I hope I was born in the city where I grew up and grew old, and to record a little bit of the life in the past that is no longer there.” Today, let us follow Zhi’an’s novel “Acceptance” and recall the “white clothes fluttering”. City of Beijing.

This is a novel that is more than twenty years late.

In the postscript of “Comedy Writer”, Zhi’an mentioned that he wanted to write a novel at the turn of the 1980s and 1990s. . But because he didn’t have time to write a part-time job in a foreign company, he immediately shelved it for a quarter of a century. Zhi’an called this novel’the last novel I want to write’.” (Reproduced from “Zhi’an” by Zhang Zhao Ordered>, to record the accent of the times”)

Later, this novel, originally called “The Myth”, was renamed “Acceptance”. Taken from “Zhuangzi•The World”: “I am ordered to drink ice at night, and I am hot in it?” The novel uses revenge as an introduction to restore the quality of life in Beijing in the 1980s. Zhian wrote for it: ” There is something that has been thought of more than 20 years ago, and has not been forgotten, and it is not necessary to complete it. It is a full-length novel set in Beijing since the 1980s. It has been completed now. I hope it is I was born in a city where I grew up and grew old in Sri Lanka, and I recorded something for the past life that I am no longer there.”

1. Return to Beijing in 1984

The protagonist Lu Bingfeng is a dentist, which is reminiscent of Zhi’an’s experience as a dentist in the 1980s, but Lu Bingfeng is not the same as Zhi’an. He is more like a modern hybrid of Wu Zixu and Hamlet. The kind of characters that we often see in modern novels: abide by principles, do things carefully, be full of faith, and hesitate to do things. He is a shadow in a crowd, a conservative in the era of madness . Not only can he see the interest of Lu Xun’s “New Stories” and Chinese knight novels, it also reminds me of the novelist Zhang Beihai in “Xia Yin”. The depiction of Peking.

In the novel, once his mother’s identification of the sealed past, Lu Bingfeng embarked on the road of revenge. Rather than talking about revenge, it is more about solving puzzles. In the process of solving puzzles, Bingfeng meets like-minded Ye Sheng and a pragmatic and progressive Yunyun. Bingfeng and Ye Sheng participate in interest groups, visit bookstores, walk in alleys, and talk about literature. , Their interaction is a microcosm of the influence of the literary and artistic craze on the lives of ordinary people in the 1980s. The encounter between Yunyun and Bingfeng adds a layer of texture beyond literature and art, which is realistic and landing, and implies the direction of the future era. Yunyun was a forward looking person, Bingfeng still left one foot in the past.

Hutongs in Beijing. /unsplash

Zhi’an sets up two sets of contrast relationships in his novels. One group is the male lead and the female lead, one is immersed in the past, and the other is eager for a new life. This is the contrast between backward and forward, but the fate of these two people is linked again. The other set of contrasts is the contrast between the tense plot and the daily narrative. He used an unhurried tone to describe the customs of the old Beijing. From Millionzhuang Liangdian, to “Reading”, “Triple”, obscure poems, and avant-garde, Zhi’an’s note-fiction writing order “Finance” is full of everyday feelings. The old things in the past seem to be happening in his writing.

How detailed is the description of life in “Acceptance”? For example, the novel writes that Bingfeng went to the Millionzhuang Grain Shop to buy rice. The inexperienced author should have taken it in one stroke and wrote: “He went to the grain shop to buy rice and then went home” Yunyun, but Zhian wrote:

” (Bingfeng) Passed the grain book, rice coupons, flour coupons and money to the window, and bought fifteen catties each. He came to the counter, and the salesperson inside used a wooden bucket up and down from the big wooden box. He weighed the rice and put it on the scale. He put the bag he brought into the funnel connected to the counter. From there, the salesperson poured the rice into the bag and knocked on the funnel. Then he weighed the flour again. Bingfeng took it from the wall. I attached two small hemp ropes, fastened the mouth of the bag, and brought them home.”

The precise details of life make this novel reliable.

Under the washing and precipitation of the years, Zhi’an puts this reliable sense of proportion in the depiction of the relationship between men and women . This novel is about men and women, and the process of two people tempting each other. It is not a reckless and unscrupulous style, but hides rich feelings in restraint and handles the dialogue between men and women in a clean and civilized manner. It also contains a lot of extraneous sounds. It is like a poem with blank spaces, which makes the readers can’t help but repeat the omission of the words in it.

I think that any analysis of the emotional depiction of a novel is better than posting a paragraph so that the reader can experience it by himself. For example, in this paragraph, Ye Sheng left a note to Bingfeng:

“Sorry, I went into the house without your permission. I brought a pair of binoculars. I wanted to ask you to go outside the city to see Halley’s Comet. The paper said that someone in the planetarium saw its coma through the telescope, like a fluffy flower. The dandelion is like a fluffy cotton ball. After waiting for you all night, it was really cold in the morning. I’m sorry, I don’t know how to make a stove, it seems to be gone.”

The fleeting water-like tone makes the texture of the novel appear comfortable, so that people can immerse themselves in the world of the novel without worrying about the fright of the novelist.

2. The ideals of a generation are always named after failures

“Feng Ming” also contains Zhi’an’s thinking on “revenge”. Why revenge, who is the object of revenge. Zhian borrowed Wu Zixu, Hamlet and Bingfeng’s comparative relationship, and added his thoughts on revenge in Bingfeng’s thinking about Wu Zixu and Hamlet’s behavior and hesitation about whether or not to revenge. So the novel claims:

“For Wu Zixu, choosing King Chuping as the object of revenge is actually treating him as a representative of the victimized party, as a symbol; when this representative and this symbol no longer exist, he will find a substitute for it. Vengeance, whether it is the corpse of King Chuping, his son Zhaowang, their relatives, or the entire Kingdom of Chu. In other words, revenge is everything, and this must have a clear target; if there is no target, revenge will not be established. As for the choice. Whoever is the target is not the most important thing, as long as he is really responsible-although such people often claim that’I only bear the responsibility that I should bear.'”

With the help of Bingfeng’s rereading of Shakespeare, the novel also compares Hamlet and Wu Zixu, two famous revenge figures in literary history. Hamlet “can’t help thinking too much and talking too much”, while Wu Zixu’s “belief seems simple, yet strong and powerful.” Hamlet is more like a philosopher. His biggest opponent is himself. Wu Zixu never talks about his revenge. He only needs to overcome fate and fate. For this reason, Bing Feng said with emotion: “Wu Zixu’s revenge is more difficult. Much bigger than Hamlet”.

“Feng Ming” coincides with Zhang Beihai’s “Xia Yin” in writing. “Xia Yin” clearly describes the wonders of the Republic of China, and actually describes the scenery of Beiping. “Acceptance” uses legendary stories to revive the temperament of Beijing in the 1980s. The details of life and the description of ordinary lanes and mosques in “Finance” are as detailed as possible. In order to avoid mistakes as much as possible, Zhi’an collected multiple maps of Beijing from different eras as a comparison. This “full book of life” description adds muscle to the novel and makes the whole novel from a lean skeleton to fullness and vividness.

Many years ago, essayist Xiao Qian once wrote “Miscellaneous Memoirs of Beijing City”. Now, Zhian wrote his own “Miscellaneous Memories of Beijing City” in the form of a novel. The real protagonist of this novel is not a certain character. , But the city and time of Beijing that are connected with the fate and breath of the characters throughout the novel.

If we read the second and third parts of the novel, and read the clip of Bingfeng trying to catch up with time after the enemy is sick, we will find that Bingfeng’s biggest opponent is not his enemy, but time, not human. Will is the time for transfer. Bingfeng is racing against the ever-changing time, and this is a battle destined to lose. The ideal of a generation is always named after failure. For Bingfeng, for the 1980s, this is the great sadness behind the quiet narrative of the novel.

Beijing. /unsplash

What’s impressive about “Finished” is the encounter between the protagonist Bing Feng and Ye Sheng. They became attached to the poetry group, but Ye Sheng is the daughter of the enemy. If we look at this setting, this is actually a cliché and curious way of approaching the enemy’s daughter for revenge, but having feelings with the enemy’s daughter. Many slacking romance novels are written in this way. It is actually very dangerous for Zhi’an to use this setting. If it is not done, it will damage the quality of the novel. In the second part of the novel, the biggest test given to the novelist Zhi’an is how to make this cliché relationship be written appropriately and naturally. The way for Zhi’an is to start with daily life and describe with as restrained brush strokes as possible. Bing Feng and Ye Sheng spoke cautiously. Those bold lusts and flowing likes were suppressed in a period of ambiguous dialogue. Those evasive words, indescribable emotions, and those moments when what happened one by one in life, but it seemed that nothing happened, came to life on paper in “The Order”.

So that when we are immersed in this text, we don’t really care about the specific story anymore. Instead, we are moved by the real emotions and real people. Moved by “compression”.

Zhi’an’s intention was not just to write a revenge story or a 1984 Beijing love story. He used a more roundabout way to make a general review of the cultural enlightenment in the 1980s. Bingfeng and Ye Sheng are two people who have been enlightened. The enlightenment of knowledge, the enlightenment of emotion, and the enlightenment of the pursuit of self-will. In this novel, the relationship between men and women makes people comfortable It is because they are no longer the relationship between one party controlling the other, nor the simple gaze of men on women, but the defense and choice of self-will of two people who respect each other.

3. Zhi’an wrote a novel about time

I used to think that Zhi’an was a scholar, but after reading “The Order”, I was convinced that he was an extremely accomplished novelist. Scholars are easy to fall out of their book bags when they write novels. Zhi’an’s use of knowledge has not overshadowed the characters. On the contrary, I think his characters are delicate, tender, and chivalrous. The mastery of the psychology of men and women and the familiarity of old Beijing’s customs in the novel makes me guess that the stories and plots are all skins, and the important thing is to retain the remaining warmth of that era.

Zhi’an wrote a novel about time. How does one face the time he is in, how to deal with fetters . Revenge is an introduction, behind it is an endless abyss of memory, the spiritual debt left by the past, the things of our fathers and our own experience. How should we deal with this debt, and how should we calmly let go of the past and face the future.

I think Zhi’an wrote this novel with a feeling of recollection, not only the recollection of youth, but also the recollection of the fading Beijing culture and spirit. In an age when utilitarianism prevailed, saying that a person is naive and ideal has also become a word of mockery. But Zhi’an used very sincere brushstrokes to write this innocence. The most touching part of this book is his sincerity. He honestly wrote a story from the 1980s, a spirit that strives to resurrect certain aspects of that era. The story of quality and material life , so although this novel is fictitious, it has a very real touch of life, and it has an aftertaste of truth and sincerity.

After reading this novel, I went to check Zhi’an’s preparation for this novel. During the conversation with Shuang Xuetao, he told himself that the story of the novel was from the spring of 1984 to the beginning of 1986. For this reason, he read the local newspapers and books in Beijing during the three years, which were published in 1982, 1984, 1986, and 1989. map. I noticed a detail, Zhian said:

“Beijing at that time, it was from the outskirts to the current Third Ring Road. As citizens of Beijing, our usual whereabouts were inside the Second Ring Road, and people who lived in Dongcheng at that time didn’t often go to Xicheng, and neither did Xicheng people. Too to Dongcheng District. I work in Xicheng, but live in Dongcheng. I am in Beijing from Beixinqiao to the north and Chongwenmen to the south. This area is our main area of ​​activity. In order to write novels, I also go to those places. Walking, of course, it’s not the original state at all, but it can evoke some memories of me. So I can enter the scene of the year, especially paying attention to some things that no longer exist.”

This passage gave me some thoughts, because it revealed that the scale of Beijing at that time was far less than it is today, and the people who joined Beijing at that time were also far less than today. In the early 1980s, Beijing’s social culture was not so anxious and not so rushed, objectively because it was still a transitional period. A planned economy era was just transitioning to a socialist market economy, and market-based competition was not really liberalized. Period.

Therefore, it is problematic to simply beautify and degrade this period, because on the one hand, it is an era of renewal and innocence, and on the other hand, it is a small place with poor material conditions for most people. People have not even had the opportunity to enter the era of free competition in big cities.

At that time, the literacy rate and level of education were not as good as today. At that time, the Internet revolution had not yet started. Therefore, the “in no hurry” of Beijing at that time was supported by an elite culture that was destined to be weakened in the future. The society at that time Not only is there an ideal and enterprising side, but also chaos, poverty, and mixed old and new. Many people can’t figure out the direction. If you read this book against Paul Solu’s “On the Land of China”, you will have a richer experience. The latter wrote about China in 1986.

“Acceptance” also reminds me of two other Beijing-related novels, one is Lao She’s “Two Horses” and the other is “How Far Is Forever” by Tie Ning. “Two Horses” also talks about the impact of the differences between the old and the new on people. When a person is in the cracks of the times, some people have no hesitation in embracing the new trend, and some people have one foot in the trend, and the other is unsympathetic. Willingly stay in the past. The difference is that the brushwork of “Two Horses” is more humorous, pungent and ironic, while the accent of “The Mandate” is more calm, like a teacher, telling about his experience without hesitation.

I will associate “Acceptance” with “Forever How Far” because they both write about the embarrassment of the old-school people in the new era. They both fully affirm the benevolence and justice of the old Beijing human nature. . But just because benevolence and righteousness are disappearing step by step today, utilitarian, impatient, and anxious spirits are permeating the streets, and the pursuit of faith and benevolence has a hint of elegy.

Tie Ning’s “How Far Is Forever” takes the female Bai Dasheng as the main character, telling the life plight of a benevolent and righteous woman in contemporary society. Bai Dasheng lived in a hutong in Beijing. She was once a child in a hutong in Beijing. The most precious trait in her character is benevolence and righteousness. In addition to benevolence and righteousness, Bai Dasheng is also very “true”, and her “truth” Making her sincere but clumsy in dealing with feelings, the novel writes: “The biggest difference of her is that she is always empty with outdated enthusiasm. She is obsessed with the men she likes, but is always broken in love.”

What this novel wants to express is actually the “innocent”, “benevolent” and “modest” characters like Bai Dasheng, who are becoming less embarrassed in the new era, so the “I” in the novel sighs with emotion: “My cousin Bai Dasheng, her silly purity and decency after she grows up often makes me feel that she is the only remaining thing in this world.”

Tie Ning once said to the character Bai Dashen: “Bai Dashen may be an outdated Beijing woman… (she) hardly looks like a Beijinger who lived at the end of the 20th century. She is more like a blind spot in Beijing. There is a group of warm and sad material, a ray of fruit that only survives. We may pray that Bai Dasheng will not change. Only if she does not change can we make human beings more like humans, life more like life, and the texture of the city is clearer. The mood is more peaceful.”

The Lu Bingfeng and Bai Dasheng in “Accepted” have the same effect. Lu Bingfeng is a person who also retains the purity and conviction of persistence, a person who attaches great importance to the old principles of the past, even if it is revenge, he must be very particular about revenge, and will never use the means of indiscriminate use. At the juncture of the commoditization and marketization era, Bingfeng seemed to outsiders a bit rigid, even out of date, because he was still obsessed with some useless things in an era of pragmatism. In contrast, Ye Sheng is a person who boldly welcomes the new era. She publicizes her desires and pays attention to new fashion and aesthetics. She is full of new vigor and spirit.

Bingfeng and Ye Sheng are each other’s control group, and the contrast and collision between them is also one of the sources of tension in the novel. For these two roles, Zhi’an did not choose to favor one side, he dealt with different attitudes towards the meaning of life.

Some people need enthusiasm to embody the meaning of their lives, while others need to give an explanation to the past, and need to “derive other principles from revenge” (Shuang Xuetao) . This feeling is like an assassin. Revenge is necessary. He wants to realize the meaning of his life in the process of revenge, but if he has not succeeded in revenge, the other party will die, and all his enthusiasm will be vanished in an instant. It feels ridiculous, and there is also a moment of meaning. The silence that was emptied and the loss of being unable to deal with it.

This sounds strange, but it is not just revenge. The meaning of many people’s lives is based on one or two pursuits. In the process of pursuit, if this purpose suddenly ends, or ends in a way that he cannot accept. , It will make him feel at a loss.

 

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/beijing-fluttering-in-white-this-novel-will-bring-you-aftertaste/
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