I am a little bit obsessed with the stories in Shanghai, so during the quiet winter days, I just can’t help but read like a starved person for days. 

Qiu xiao long’s name was first mentioned from a friend’s email. He seems to be a really creative writer who is talented in telling mysterious murder stories which always happened in Shanghai and he is proud of mix famous Chinese poems into those exciting stories. Naturely I tagged his book as one of the most wanted in my reading list.

Surprisingly, Years of Red Dust fall into my hand as one of my Chinese New Years gifts.  Once I opened the pages, it connects me deeply and reminds me of my childhood time in the backsteets of the southern city. The warmth of the narrow busy lanes, the endless gossips on the other side of the thin walls and the smells of every day life, gosh, I missed it.

The name of this book inspired me to start a walking tour program in Shanghai – Years of Heavenly Light. It is a kind of lost memory for which was part of our life, sometimes dark, sometimes merry.  Next week, I will go back to that strange sad little place and try to capture the stories before every one forgets. 

The stories in Years of Red Dust trace the changes in modern China over fifty years—from the early days of the Communist revolution in 1949 to the modernization movement of the late nineties—all from the perspective of one small street in Shanghai, Red Dust Lane. From the early optimism at the end of the Chinese Civil War, through the brutality and upheaval of the Cultural Revolution, to the death of Mao, the pro-democracy movement and the riots in Tiananmen Square—history, on both an epic and personal scale, unfolds through the bulletins posted and the lives lived in this one lane, this one corner of Shanghai.

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