Fields of Joy
by Zhou Daxin
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 20 Nov 2020 | Archive Date 28 Jan 2021
Alain Charles Asia Publishing, Sinoist Books
Fields of Joy is a conversation between Zhou Daxin and his late son, Zhou Ning, who passed away at the age of twenty-nine following a three-year battle with a brain tumour. They discuss the time they spent together during China’s period of reform and opening up, exploring themes such as philosophy, history, politics and family relationships.
Can a grieving father find solace in the afterlife?
Ning, my dear son, I wasn’t ready to say goodbye, but who expects to be struck down in their prime? I should have known that day on the basketball court would be the start of our trials, how the frantic dash between hospitals, from one cancer ward to the next treatment, would consume our lives.
Dad, don’t be sad. Perhaps it’s the different times we grew up in, but isn’t it inevitable? The earthy fields of your youth have turned into the concrete jungles of today. This journey has changed history, politics – even families. Why should dealing with loss be any different?
Son, I agree with you, but no matter how things change, there is a central rule to the universe: the elders leave first; the youngsters leave later. I could have never imagined that the first death I experienced would be yours…
About the Author
Zhou Daxin is a contemporary Chinese author and winner of several major literary honours including China’s highest award for literature, the Mao Dun Prize. Across his body of work – more than thirty novels and short stories – Zhou draws on his countryside roots and long military career for inspiration. Yet Zhou’s works also manage to surpass his upbringing. His piercing observations of Chinese society set characters in rural, urban and even allegorical environments, and touch upon challenging and often intimate humanitarian questions seldom dealt with by other authors of his generation. His works have been translated into a dozen languages including English, French, German, Japanese, Arabic, Spanish, and Greek.