Just prior to all the nonsense I mentioned below, I finished reading a fabulous new first novel – February Flowers, by Fan Wu. Set against of backdrop of China in the 90s, this is the story of two friends – Ming and Yan – who find themselves in an unlikely friendship. It’s truly more of 17 year-old Ming’s story, and her intense fascination with the older Yan.
There is a more sophisticated storyline here, one that shows us old and new China, and the emotional realities of living in a post – cultural revolution world. But the bits I loved best were the ones about the girls’ friendship, and the odd, familiar dichotomy of love and hate that runs through it. The girl crush, the girl flirt, that you remember from your late teens, when the world was opening up to you in new ways. When you met that older girl who just seemed to emulate something bigger than yourself. Wu’s prose reads like poetry on this subject:
I wanted to follow her but instead I fell back onto my bed – a strange dizziness struck me in a kind of ecstasy. I felt my blood pumping through my veins and crushing my organs. A strong current of warmth permeated my heart. I had difficulty breathing. Never before in my life had I been so paralysed by an unspeakable emotion and so incapable or expressing my thoughts. (page 54).
Most definitely recommended.