Fields of Joy
by Zhou Daxin
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 8 May 2020 | Archive Date 26 Jun 2020
Alain Charles Asia Publishing, Sinoist Books
Zhou Daxin’s world fell apart when his son, Zhou Ning, passed away at the age of twenty-nine following a three-year battle with a brain tumour. Fields of Joy consists of a conversation between a father and his late son who are not yet ready to say goodbye. 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
Born in Dengzhou, north-central China in 1952, Zhou Daxin is a novelist, short-story writer and essayist whose realist fiction mostly focuses on ordinary people in his home province of Henan. He made his literary debut in 1979 and has published nine novels, thirty-three novellas and more than seventy short stories, as well as essays and plays. In 2016, People’s Literature Publishing House published Selected Works by Zhou Daxin, a twenty-volume collection of novels, novellas, short stories, essays and a screenplay. Zhou has received numerous awards, including the National Outstanding Short Story Award, the Feng Mu Literature Prize, the People’s Literature Award, the Mao Dun Literature Prize, and the Lao She Prose Essay Award. His works have been translated into a dozen languages including English, French, German, Japanese, Arabic, Spanish and Greek. He currently resides in Beijing.