An Empty Room by Mu Xin

By Mu Xin

An Empty Room is the 1st e-book through the distinguished chinese language author Mu Xin to seem in English. A cycle of 13 tenderly evocative tales written whereas Mu Xin was once residing in exile, this assortment is comparable to the structural fantastic thing about Hemingway’s In Our Time and the imagistic energy of Kawabata’s palm-of-the-hand tales. From the normal (a bus coincidence) to the weird (Buddhist halos) to the clever (Goethe, Lao Zi), Mu Xin’s wandering “I” interweaves plots with philosophical grace and religious profundity. A small blue bowl turns into a logo of vanishing formative years; a painter in a race opposed to fading reminiscence scribbles
notes in an underground felony through the Cultural Revolution; an deserted temple room holds a depressing secret. An Empty Room is a soul-stirring web page turner, a Sebaldian reverie of passing time, loss, and humanity regained.

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The accompaniment emphasized percussion instruments such as bells and drums, notably a “slender-waisted” drum of central Asian origin, and had a strong rhythmic element. The song lyrics had relatively straightforward themes on DEVELOPMENT, 400–465 41 illicit love, parting, separation, and work in the commercial economy. 54 The surviving lyrics in this style, though known to have been composed by men with a classical education and designed for princely entertainment, frequently adopt the persona of a merchant or boatman, suggesting their roots in the trade economy of western frontier regions.

10 The use of immigrant jurisdictions as a part of the resettlement policy at first seems to fly in the face of the “residence determination” that was still ongoing during this period. What it shows is that “residence determination” was not simply an effort at administrative rationalization. Instead, it was used selectively, to undermine the power and privileges of preexisting immigrant groups who were no longer loyal or useful, while clearing the way for new groups to gain similar privileges.

Some of the men are known to have been outright illiterate: Zhang Jing’er, for example, is recorded as having learned his letters only late in life, and Shen Qingzhi, whose career closely tracks that of these Xiangyang men, is also identified as wholly unschooled. Illiteracy may not always have been the case; several quite serviceable memos are ascribed to Liu Yuanjing, who was clearly a cut above most of his fighting associates. But no essays, poetry, or commentaries on the classics were written by this group; they were men of action, not letters, and we should not presume that any one of them was able to read and write unless we have evidence.

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