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Day 3 | pp. 59-82 (through “Why, my dear crocodile, how are you?”)

July 10, 2021 by Paul Lisicky

The stunning coldness of the breakup! The narrator: “I was just writing you the letter in which I dump you.” Shui Ling dishes it back after a recovery: “That won’t be necessary.” & the allusion to a story in which murder is foreseen but can’t be stopped.

The aching tooth, the “red-hot piece of wire up a monkey’s ass.” It’s not just the intimate inside-the-body pain that upsets; it’s the homophobic violence implied by the wire, which the narrator connects to Shui Ling’s words.

The darkness of the aforementioned is balanced by the crocodile’s dream, which seems whimsical at first, then plays out as a queer birth theory. Unsettling that the crocodile must suppress the “ferocious creature within itself.”

The narrator’s involvement in the student organization comes with relief. We see her banter with the lively Tun Tun and Zhi Rou, and here she’s finally given a name, Lazi, a Taiwanese term for “lesbian,” which she seems happy to own.

Miaojin’s dazzling eye for description. The October sun shimmering. “The candy-striped umbrella over the tables…starting to slouch.” The new students likened to a powdered beverage not fully blended, “the clumps floating on top.”

We hear more about Lazi’s failed relationship with her parents here than at any other point. It’s a testament to her integrity that she’s able to see the difficulty from their side too: “It’s caused them no small amount of pain.”

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