By Ting-Xing Ye
Pan-pan and Shui-lian, teenage ladies born miles aside in modern day rural China, go away domestic with goals of a higher destiny in Beijing or Shanghai. As goals flip slowly into nightmares, they go paths and judge to stand their demanding situations jointly. it is a strong story of friendship and a stark, real portrait of recent China.
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Extra resources for Mountain Girl, River Girl
We’re near a train station,” Jin-lin told her cheerfully, which brought a smile to Shui-lian’s face. Shui-lian had never been on a train but had seen plenty of them zipping along the tracks beside the riverbanks. She let out a sigh of relief and closed her eyes again, hoping she’d be in Shanghai soon. But before long Shui-lian began to feel as if she were caught in the guerrilla warfare she had read about at the floating school. She and the others got on the train all right, in the middle of the night, but hours later they were herded off like ducklings and into a minibus with blacked-out windows.
By the time the door finally opened, there were nearly twenty young women waiting. A few chatted nosily. The rest remained silent, like Shui-lian and Jin-lin, holding back their anxiety and curiosity. Shui-lian craned her neck and stood on tiptoe, peering through the gaps between the hopeful women in front of her, trying to get a glimpse into the house. Suddenly a man hollered, then she saw a hairy hand appear at the doorway. “All right. ” Shui-lian and Jin-lin followed the others through a narrow hallway and crowded into a room.
She tossed the dishwater into the river and gazed into the distance toward the city’s main wharf, where, once again, a cluster of giant boats was moored, as if floating on top of one another. All were wider, longer, and taller than the sheds and warehouses that huddled along the bank. The area was so brightly lit that the glare seemed to have burned a large hole in the thick mist, illuminating the starless sky and coating the surrounding water with a golden finish. Cruise ships, they are called, not boats, Shui-lian reminded herself as a file of buses pulled up to the quay, like fish swimming upriver.
Mountain Girl, River Girl by Ting-Xing Ye