Chinese Modern Classics: Hollow Mountain

(Ave of 2 Goodreads ratings)
Price: $20.65 $14.51 (Save $6.14)
Add to Wishlist

Author: Saul Thompson;
Language: English
Format: 19.2 x 13 x 3 cm
Page: 486
Publication Date: 06/2017
ISBN: 9787500152576
Publisher: China Translation & Publishing House
Series: Chinese Modern Classics
About Author

Alai was born in 1959 in Sichuan Province, of Rgyalrong Tibetan descendent. As well as critically acclaimed collections of poetry, short stories, and essays, he has written a number of novels, including Red Poppies: A Novel of Tibet, which was shortlisted for the 2002 Kiriyama Prize. He was also the chief editor of China’s largest science-fiction journal, Science Fiction World.

Table of Contents
The First Part
Scattered in the Wind
The Second Part
Celesrial Fire
Sample Pages Preview
Years had passed since the incident. In the time between, Gela grew up.

Enbo strode along the path. His head was bowed as he ate up the distance between them. Gela’s fear was gone now, and so was the habitual guilt he could never explain.On the prolonged rise and fall of the path between the mill and the village, Gela’s first sight of Enbo was a felt hat bobbing above the line of the slope. Gradually, a broad pair of shoulders appeared beneath the hat, and finally Enbo’s powerful torso rose from the ground like a demon from a crack in the earth’s crust moving menacing towards him. At the last possible moment before the two passed each other, Enbo raised his head and looked at Gela through blood that flecked his eyes.

Before, Gela was afraid, always; constantly burdened with guilt he couldn’t understand. But it was different now. He raised his head, flames of hot hate bursting from his eyes despite the faint tremor in his chest. But the flames were irresolute; they burned out, hate replaced by doubt. Then, his eyes lowered, and his head fell.

The two men, one old, one young, always met on this path. The wordless confrontation between them was just part of the routine. In the beginning, young Gela invariably was the timid loser of these battles. But the advantage was his now — though Enbo was still in his prime, he was aging fast. More often than not these days it was he who kept his head low, out of sight of the sharp gaze of the still dangerously young. He even looked like he’d begun to resign himself to defeat.

The conflict between Gela and Enbo began with the death of a child. The child had been four years younger
than Gela. The child had been Enbo’s son. When the boy was nine years old, he was injured by a firecracker during the Chinese New Year celebrations. His wound became infected, and he died not long after the end
of the holiday season.

Firecracker burns were a common hazard of life as a village child, but usually they didn’t pose any real danger. On the fateful day, a group of excited children lit their firecrackers, dropped or threw them chaotically, and scattered. They left behind one pale, skinny little boy with a burn crying in the middle of the small village square. His tears came more from fright than actual pain; he was very easily frightened, and because of this trait, he was known in the village by the name ‘Bunny’. Bunny cried all the way home.
That should have been the end of the matter, but as winter stretched from the Chinese New Year to the Tibetan New Year, the white bandage wrapped around Bunny’s neck grew steadily dirtier. Bunny began to succumb to fatigue. There was a grove of willows at the western edge of the village — when they began to blossom, he told his grandmother in his weak little voice:

“I’m going to die.”

True to his word, he passed away that evening.

Before Bunny’s death, a faint rumour began to circulate. It was the kind of rumour that floats half - formed above small villages. The rumour said that the firecracker responsible for Bunny’s injury had been thrown by the hand of Gela. That was the rumour — no more, no less, and though it was light of substance it permeated the whole village, like a faint but probing breeze.

“They’re wrong”, Gela thought to himself at the time, “I never even had a firecracker. How could I have a firecracker when I don’t have a father! I don’t even have an older brother to steal one for me.”

He went to Bunny’s grandmother, and asked her from over a hedge: “Do you believe them? Do you think it was me who threw the firecracker?”

The old woman raised her clouded eyes to face him.

“You’re just as much to be pitied as he is, child. No, it wasn't you.”

But the first time he saw Bunny’s father, the fury in the older man's eyes was almost enough to convince him that he was responsible for little Bunny’s death. He felt like a thief who had stolen away the boy’s tiny bunny voice and his sickly bunny body. Little Bunny was dead, his body taken to the cremating ground, his whole biology taken by fire and changed into a column of black smoke that scattered in the wind.

(Chapter ONE)
Chinese Modern Classics: Hollow Mountain