1) A slow start may be redeemed by having the Red Army show up halfway through the book. Nothing perks up a narrative about a bunch of mildly dissatisfied but inertia-filled students like a couple of mortar rounds.
2) Pa Chin was exceedingly well read. I'm reading a novel translated from the Chinese which references Treasure Island, Ibsen, Tu Fu, Akiko Yosano, and Turgenev (and contains excerpts from Turgenev's novel In the Eyes). Just thinking through the translation history of that last one makes me start thinking about turtles, turtles, turtles.
3) I'm very jealous of some of the imagery in this book, especially the ongoing juxtaposition of nature and violence. There's one comparison of the sound of a patter of automatic weapons fire to that of a rain squall that took my breath away.
4) The politics of young women in pre-Communist China deciding whether or not to cut their hair as an act of public rebellion is fascinating.
5) I've never seen the choice of traditionalism vs. Communism presented as a choice of family duty vs. individalism and self-respect before. I'm fascinated by this aspect of this book, and by extension this culture and this moment in time. Communism=individual freedom and responsibility is not a connection that Americans are indoctrinated to make.
I got my editorial letter for Scardown today. Four pages, not bad at all, and all stuff I think I can do and which is likely to (a) make this book better and (b) give me a better platform from which to launch Worldwired. I'm going to take the weekend to think it over, and call her when I get back from Detroit on Wednesday, I think.
May I just say publicly that my editor is very clever, and she makes me happy with her smart suggestions? And also catching my stupid mistakes. *g*
I read David Lubar's Hidden Talents (TOR Starscape) yesterday. It's cute. It seems like a lot of setup for a very quick payoff, but I like the found-things structure, and the narrator's first-person voice alone is worth readng for. Charming YA, maybe a little slight, but then, YA. It's fun.
I would have liked it when I was a kid.
The mail embargo continues.