Why did I love this book?
Ding Ling’s stories are bold.
In the title story, Ling grants us access to the diaries of Miss Sophie, a young woman living in Beijing ill with tuberculosis who grapples with her attraction to guys, gals, idiots, and the jealous–all while latticing these contradictions together through a diary. Sophie spouts sick burns like she’s made for Twitter.
And if that wasn’t enough, much of the other stories seem like autofiction, documenting her time as a communist revolutionary in jail, like how in “A Certain Night,” we see the protagonist in jail writing the story that comes later in the collection “From Night to Dawn.”