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7 days, 7 lectures. Beijing’s elderly have gathered to hear sales pitches for care robots, immortality pills and dubious de-ageing tech. Yet one speaker, Nurse Zhong, offers only a story: of Uncle Xiao, the old man she cared for. What follows is a tale of how two fragile humans – one young, one infirm – weathered all life’s hardships: together.
Nothing worth saving lasts forever
China is ageing. Its shrinking households, overworked and overstretched, struggle to carry the burden of care for the elderly. Retired Beijing judge Xiao Chengshan is one among millions of old-timers who face a hopeless choice: accept a lonely decline, or chase dubious ‘miracle cures’.
Then into his life steps Zhong Xiaoyang, a young rural nurse with her own share of problems. The two have little in common, but as time delivers tragedies they learn that family can take many forms. Will this unlikely pair weather life’s storms together, and will Xiao find warmth in his sunset years?
About the Author
Zhou Daxin is a contemporary Chinese author and winner of several major literary honours including China’s highest award for fiction, the Mao Dun Prize.
Across his body of work – more than thirty novels and short stories – Zhou has made piercing observations of Chinese society by setting his characters in rural, urban and even allegorical environments and touching upon challenging, often intimate humanitarian questions seldom dealt with by other authors of his generation.