i'm trying to write this as honestly as possible, and by "this" i don't mean the book (i loved it), but how it made me feel even more distant to where i am and how i am living, and how it rationalised my blooming antipathy towards everything. i picked up this book in my most frequented bookstore in the city where i find myself feeling safest and calmest in because it's the only place (apart from my bedroom), i was anonymous and intact.
i remember how guangzhou was promised to me. i was to spend the summer of 2013 in a small but charming apartment, see the lotuses in linhua mountain, walk through shamian island, maybe fall in love in the process. when alex left for guangzhou, somehow, we lost each other and that's the way it should be. he told me once that, "if there's a city where you'll be fine alone, it's guangzhou." and maybe someday i'll experience it for myself.
the novel is about an unlikely friendship between ming, 17, virginal and in love with literature and yan, 24, wild and seemingly in love with everything, who meets in a university in guangzhou. their interactions happen mostly in rooftops, where yan smokes and haughtily hands out always lavish and most often harrowing tales of her love affairs, while ming plays violin and fawns over yan. they visit cinemas, buy fine-tailored suits, drink tea, eat dimsum, and take ferry rides across the glittering luahua lake. they are frivolous, beautiful, and romantic.