Tofu peddler Yang Baishun is a man of few words and few friends. Unable to find meaningful companionship, he settles for a marriage of convenience. When his wife leaves him for another man he is left to care for his five-year-old stepdaughter, Qiaoling, who is subsequently kidnapped, never to be seen by Yang again. Seventy years later we find Niu Aiguo, who, like Yang, struggles to connect with other people. As Niu begins learning about his recently deceased mother’s murky past, it becomes clear that Qiaoling is the mysterious bond that links Yang and Niu.
Someone To Talk To highlights the contours of everyday life in pre- and post-Mao China, where regular people struggle to make a living and establish homes and families. Contemplating the nature of connection and loneliness, community and family, the novel traces the unexpected and far-reaching ramifications of seemingly inconsequential actions, while reminding us all of the importance of communication.
China is a country which is so close and so far for Japanese. “Someone To Talk To”
(Translated by Eiko Mizuno, Published by Sailiushe) is a book you can touch lives and feelings of Chinese common people written by Liu Zhenyun, an author with great popularity in China. In the book, too many characters appear and it may difficult for you to find who is the protagonist when you start reading. The book is in two folds and lasts for almost 100 years but by continuous introduction of unique episodes in speed with humorous storytelling, it powerfully drives readers into the story. I recommend this book to roman- fleuve fans.
— Yumi Toyozaki, Kita Nihon (North Japan) Newspaper
“Very rarely does one encounter a novel from contemporary China that transcends the mere story, however spectacular or unheard of, and wrestles so deeply and intimately with the structural truth and secrecy of the way things are. A stunning display of the mimetic power of language and narrative, and through masterful arrangement of sentences seeking and connecting with each other, Someone to Talk To
invites all of us to rethink the meaning of realism and, for that matter, of literature as such.”
— Xudong Zhang, author of Postsocialism and Cultural Politics: China in the Last Decade of the Twentieth Century
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