3 thoughts on ““The Snow of Jinyang,” by Zhang Ran”

  1. Oh, I just read this yesterday. It was cute, but I kept feeling like I wasn’t experiencing quite the level of hilariousness that I would have if I was Chinese.

    I’m glad for the note explaining that time travel novels are hugely popular in China — I had no idea. I suppose this story is a bit of a takedown of the idea of a competent modern hero changing history. It’s all so exaggerated (Wang knows how to extract iodine from seaweed, and a million other things, although he only took a few classes in chemistry) and so silly.

    Like I say, I’m sure I would have found it funnier if I knew all the things it was parodying, and if I knew the Analects enough to be amused at them being quoted in incongruous contexts, and so forth.

    The characters are a bit too broadly drawn to get attached to, but I did become fond of Zhu in the end, hopeless schlub though he was. After all, he was genuinely trying to figure out the right thing to do, for the sake of the entire city.

    1. For one example of missing context, I suspect the unexpected and unexplained bit where Zhu impresses people by juggling a big stone jar must be parodying something or other.

    2. Ken Liu said on Twitter this was the most difficult story he ever translated. I wonder if that’s just because of all the puns or something else too. Good work anyhow.

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