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Day 8 | pp. 181-204 (through “And because it wasn’t love.”)

July 15, 2021 by Paul Lisicky

Meng Sheng, “freewheeling lunatic,” distracts Lazi from despair after the second breakup with Shui Ling, but his role is complex. While he saves Lazi from self-destruction, he pushes her toward “total depravity.” Is their making love a part of that?

It’s a relief that Lazi has a friend to go to for help. And Tun Tun’s playfulness around the matter of sex—“The Buddha was never anti-sex”—is just the kind of lesson that Lazi might need, even though seducing the dept. chair isn’t the best idea.

Lazi has an unerring ability to describe others, especially by way of their clothes. (See Tun Tun, Xiao Fan.) The lone exception is Shui Ling, who rarely had a face, a body. Is that what happens when "the boundaries are nearly nonexistent?”

It’s unnerving to hear Lazi interpret Xiao Fan to her face; she calls her needy, "warm and feminine,” neat, organized, Type A. Perhaps she needs to control her, fearing she’ll get burnt by another mess, this time by someone much older.

“Xiao Fan was the only woman I ever made love to,” says Lazi, whose words might be literal. Sadly, she thinks of her ardor as a relinquishment of self-respect, “a new low." And yet she describes their four years together as the one time she was happy.

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