K — a magical journey
When I raised my long-buried head out of the book, the train went on moving. Slices of sunshine poured down through layers and layers of clouds, those typical English clouds. When the caesious grass and the lonely trees and the still houses flashed across my eyes, at that moment I wasn't real. I was in that unearthly exotic place that I weaved long time ago. It's like the world in Kyslovski's magic glass ball, it's not about a degree, a night out, a kitchen full of unwashed dishes; it's only a motioning picture, a picture caters all the curiosities. Time tamely goes back to years ago, when I first came here, for that very moment. The picture of a peaceful English summer is still vivid: a dog, afternoon shower, the rainbow in the sky, a garden full of flowers…
Although stereotypes of a certain country is not at all what k is about, all the travellers, including the hero Julian, have these illusions, unevitably. Like the world seen in the glass ball, concentrated, brightened, but unfortunately reflectionally up-side-down.
Hong Ying 's writing is very passionate. It is hard to escape from the mysterious net she weaved to tramp you down to the bottom of the plots. Especially those inserted sights of landscapes and cities, too lively to escape from. Beijing has always been like that: deep blue sky, sunshiny winter, light grey roads, light brown trees, those pine trees are always as still as bonsais… my memory for Beijing has never stayed in spring, and not charateristically in summer, but only in autumn, especially the late autumn, when it was not as cold as winter but bright as.
It was in Beijing, that Julian and Lin started their affair sexually. Beijing is no doubt the most characteristic city in China, and winter in Beijing is thirsty and freezing, perfect for making love. It is quite an attempt, though, to interpret the 'fang zhong shu' (the ancient Chinese sex techniques and theories) as a feminism approach. I m not quite convinced that Lin is a free spirit in that case. She's after all, a sex slave protrated herself to some inequal love affair. Nevertheless, I really like the alternative reading of the classic work. The theories are at one time very convincingly feminism. It is the plots that give it a psuedo flavour.
Another interesting part of the novel is the scenes in the opium house. I was in the train, listening to coming up (suede 1997) while reading. The quiver of the train movement, the music effect made by then drug addicted Brett Anderson, interwove the premise for my irregular heart-throb when reading that paragraph of opium taking. It was as simulating as the love scenes. Is it because she made it paralell to sex that some equivalent effect happened? Or can it be that human bodies, at least some of the bodies, are naturally exposed to drug addiction, as if they naturally take sex as a joy moment?
Now I really want to read the English version.