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Day 4 | pp. 83-105 (through “Take a cue from the media, and show them where you draw the line.”)

July 11, 2021 by Paul Lisicky

The indelible portrait of Tingzhou Road attic, not just the space (“a narrow slit of a room”) but Lazi’s roommate, who gives the impression of someone who’d borrow money and never pay her back. Estrangement, aloneness—they’re enacted in every word.

More descriptive wonder in the scene with Chu Kuang, who wears the “same pair of purple-and-green denim pants with a thin gold belt, like something a nightclub host might wear.” Interesting that he and Lazi interact as “caricatures.”

Chu Kuang’s account of the fight with Meng Sheng (“I could eat the guy alive”) in all its emotional violence electrifies Lazi, as if she’s looking into a mirror. Of fighting she says: “Does that mean it’s mutual love or bitter hatred?”

Lazi is especially touching in her call for candor, even though she might not always be ready to be honest about herself. To Chu Kuang: “When you’re around me, just be your genuine self.” No “censored version.”

Tun Tun’s “wall of absurdity” appears to arise from not having the language for attraction. “I have a problem, and…I’m not completely sure what that problem is.” Lazi responds with empathy, a gush of “intense affection.”

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