Material and Spirit in the Hometown
The first dream takes place in the central square of the capital city, where a citizens’ revolt is suppressed. The tracks left by the tanks are filled with blood.
The second dream takes place in a wheat field at harvest time. The villagers all forget who they are, and everyone becomes someone else. At first they all happily borrow each other’s bodies and souls, but when they are unable to recover their original selves, they become completely distraught.
In the third dream, everyone loses their head and surges forth as a group of headless torsos.
Moving from dream to reality, in 1969 a beautiful young woman marries into a village, taking on the role of “young sister-in-law.” Like a fragrant, ripe apricot, she experiences sexual stirrings in her young heart; a bicycle with bullhorn handlebars carries her away from the village to a strange, faraway land. Consisting of four volumes totaling over two million characters, the novel has been called China’s Ulysses.