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#goodchinesereads ~ Cai Jun

"Suzhou River", by Cai Jun, translated by Frances Nichol

Flash Reviews

Amika Browne, 24/9/20

Cai Jun's short story ‘Suzhou River’ creates a riveting atmosphere through its use of water imagery and detailed description. Although the main protagonist C lacks memories, the detailed description of the surrounding and their actions give a sense that they are trying to regain their own memories by making new ones. The constant water-like language creates a fitting imagery befitting of the story's name. What I enjoyed most about this story is that at the beginning the reader as well as the main protagonist are left completely confused about what is going on and who they are. During C’s journey to meet Z the protagonist experiences much turbulence that causes him to try to run away. However, much like the Suzhou river, all must flow back to the source, and instead of running away he is in actuality running towards himself where he finally finds the answers to the questions that he asked himself at the beginning of the story. This reflects the reality that most of us face in daily life as we strive towards a certain goal or make certain plans we often feel that we are losing a part of ourselves; however in actuality we are striving to become a better individual.