Sunday, 20 April 2014

#talk 10: Hui3r's Hua Xu Yin (华胥引)

    Tang Qi Gong Zi/Tang 7 is the famous author of the Three Lives Three World series (Ten Thousand Miles of Peach Blossom & The Pillow Book), but many have said that her best work is actually Hua Xu Yin. I've never commented on it because I've not actually read the original book (the main couple does get their happy ending, but the story also delves into many other sub-stories and those couples usually get very bittersweet endings). Peanuts started summarising some of the sub-stories and in the best twist of fate, Peanut's mythical landlord, Hui3r returned, and she has picked up Hua Xu Yin to translate officially. 

  I've only started talking to Hui3r probably about a week ago, but immediately she has become the most amazing Unni (big sister in the korean context, and not so much the japanese sea urchin haha). We actually spent one night just comparing our libraries and realising that her madness is like my own is a kind of beautiful sanity. 

 I'm sure most of my blog readers are already avid fans of hui3r and peanut's blog! But, those that do not know of this most amazing blog, do check out hui3r's translations for Hua Xu Yin. Hua Xu Yin is not for the faint-hearted, and yet perhaps it is meant for the faint-hearted to fortify our weak hearts against all that is brokenhearted in this world. It really is beautiful and heartrending prose, and hui3r translates it very faithfully to the spirit of the text and has the best footnotes.

 I am giving you fair warning that once you start on Hua Xu Yin, you don't want to stop and you are going to enter into some of the most ferocious debates in the c-novel community. But, ah, THE FEELS. Hui3r is now at the first sub-couple story, Shen An and Song Ning, and that story affected me so much I actually went and re-wrote my own version of the ending. Yes, Hua Xu Yin is that kind of story that will ache in your bones and never leave you. 

 So, clutch your heart, and jump in! And, if you need some hugs and tissues from the sub-stories, feel free to come back here haha! I will post my "fanfic" version of the Shen An and Song Ning saga when it ends as well. 

  You won't regret it. Or actually, you will probably regret it, but also feel like, ah, so this is what my heart is for. 

  It is for reading brilliant novels like this and meeting like-hearted soulmates that make you realise that no matter how big this world is, you will never be alone if there are soulmates like these. To Hui3r <3, to the continuous descent in this madness. 


  1. "and that story affected me so much I actually went and re-wrote my own version of the ending." that is adorable~ !

    I started reading it on Thursday and I'm hooked, I'm glad I didn't discover it until now (Chenguang started translating it last year if I'm not mistaken?) I don't know how I'd wait for the chapters otherwise!

    1. Hahaha! Yes, my ending is not that dissimilar from the real ending but there were certain things I just needed to write for some closure. Haha!

      I know! But luckily Hui3r translates fast :). I'm following her translations instead of reading forward with the original.

  2. Song Ning/Shen An were extremely frustrating. Their story didn’t really captivate me, since there were so many things I disagreed with.

    First off, Song Ning’s “love” for Shen An felt too superficial. It was more of a young girl’s infatuation and admiration for a guy’s fighting abilities. However, this is a poor reason for wanting to marry someone. Just because someone is talented, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re a good person. (Too much instant-love happen in these sort of novels).

    Shen An—I can understand that he tried to remain loyal to the woman who he believed had saved his life (Again, this is a poor reason for wanting to marry someone! ) And I can understand that he was annoyed with Song Ning for being the interloper, however his actions were inexcusable. I won’t even talk about the rape. His callous words were enough for me to hate him.

    I really liked Song Ning’s character at first, who was a strong warrior-princess. However, my opinion of her lessened after she continued pining for a man who treated her so cruelly.

    The Shen An who Song Ning had loved was only a fantasy. The reality was a world of difference. It was a bit pathetic when Song Ning wanted to weave a dream in which Shen An had loved her, and treated her with kindness. I just wanted to grab her and shout, “HE IS NOT WORTH IT! Move on with your life!”

    Unbreakable loyalty is a common theme in romance stories, but I really hate it here. Shen An has never done a single thing for Song Ning to warrant her undying devotion. I did not find their story to be romantic, even in the tragic sense. I only see a weak-willed woman, who would go crawling back to her abusive husband had he offered the slightest crumb of affection. Despite everything that has happened, a part of her still longed for him and wished to be loved by him.

    But that is not the kind of character I can respect, and that is not the kind of message I want to see.

    So yeah, I can’t say that I’m excited to read the fanfic :P Shen An doesn’t deserve a happy ending in my opinion, and he certainly isn’t worthy of Song Ning’s love or admiration. I wanted him to live in misery and sorrow for the rest of his life. (I am a vindictive person).

    The ending I would have preferred is if Song Ning had taken her son after he was born, and got faarrr away from Shen An & LQQ. I had hoped that Song Ning would come to realize that, sometimes, chasing after a dream just isn’t worth it. Eventually her pain would fade, and perhaps she could have found her peace and happiness elsewhere.

    . . .
    . . . Oh dang, I wrote half an essay xD Well, I’m just hoping that hui3er will finish translating this part soon, so we can get on with the other stories. I did not like this one. Although I personally disliked it, I must say that Hua Xu Yin is amazing as a whole. There are very few writers who can evoke an emotional response from me, even if it is a negative one in this case. I've heard that Tangqi Gongzi's writing is quite beautiful, and I only wish I could read it for myself.


    1. I enjoyed reading your essay, and I agree with most of your points (though I still like this story a lot) ^^

      *look decembi I'm being active*

    2. Hello Szara,

      Wow! I really enjoyed reading your essay, and this is the kind of discussion that HXY provokes that I enjoy so much. Because, the love leaves readers heated and also ambivalent.

      Actually, I think I was one of the readers who realllly disliked Shen An, and my only aim of reading it was to read how he ends. But, I really got into Shen An and Song Ning's story after reading hui3r's translations, there was something about the prose and all the actions that really hooked onto my heart. So, from Hui3r's previous chapter translation (chpt 3.2), I actually went to read the original till the end of this arc, and the kind of reign it took over my mind until I wrote a closure ending for myself was pretty intense, haha!

      I liked your observation about "insta-love". I do think Tang7's brilliance is how "simple" they met - Song Ning is a proud warrior princess and Shen An was the only person who had beat her at battle. Wham Bam. Like an arrow into her heart, Song Ning started to have probably a huge teenage crush on Shen An, and we all know how obsessive that can be. And, how it grew after she flipped thousands of corpses on the battle field to find his body, and the three days they spent in the cave. Something more grew from that, and her heart was lost when Shen An proposed to her in the cave.

      There was one line that always stayed with me in the arc, I think it was because Song Ning only ever loved Shen An, Shen An was all she knew, so when she lost Shen An, she lost everything. I think Jun Fu made the observation that if only she had loved other guys, or had experienced other love, so this love won't have been so obsessive and strong. So, I would argue that Song Ning always returning to Shen An was not because she was weak-willed but precisely because her obsession was so strong.

      I shall not go into the later parts and become spoilery. But, I do agree with your the Shen An Song Ning loved was her fantasy, her figment of imagination. There is quite a bit of that I think in Tang 7's writing, and the very interesting contrast of what happens in Song Ning's dreamscape later. :) I don't think it will disappoint! And, SO MUCH FOOD for discussion later. Heehee.

      I do think Shen An is a stubborn man, and a very difficult man to love and respect. But I think what really got to Song Ning was that Shen An's protection, devotion and obstinate love for Qi Qi was the love that belonged to her - she was his saviour, but his refusal to listen to Shen An, that very act of stubborn love to Qi Qi, was an act of both hatred and love for Song Ning.

      Hahhaa, Szara, I think I wrote a mini essay too! Oh, my ending is not a happy ever after fairytale kind of ending, it's just some extra lines for closure :). In fact, I think you might like the real ending from what you have written......

    3. Hey anonymous! Hahahah :) Yes, thanks for being so active. It's so sweet!

    4. Szara, you have some valid points. Because we are not embroiled in the situation we can objectively said she should just kick Shen An to the curb.

      Alas, the heart wants what the heart wants, which is usually what you can't have to begin with. Perhaps if she had the option to return to her home country, she would have been able to let go. Or perhaps, if she had been given the opportunity to love, or be loved by, another man, she could have seen the difference between love and obsession. Unfortunately, neither happened so she was caught in a situation where she grew unhappier day by day. As Song Ning said, she could not stand seeing them living so lovingly and happily when she is all alone. This doesn't make her good or bad; it just makes her human.

    5. I often forget that Song Ning and Shen An's marriage was a political marriage, and in those times they are not often regarded or assumed to have any romantic love. A marriage of convenience. Too bad, it turned out to be a marriage of tragic proportions for both of them :(

  3. Rong Yuan & Ying Ge/Shi San Yue are my favorite couple (Mu Yan & Jun Fu are a very close second) from Hua Xu Yin, but it's Shen An & Song Ning's story that tugged at my heart the most because they were the most pitiable and tragic of all four substories.

    Mu Yan's teasing and intelligence, however, totally makes up for all the angsty parts of the novel.

    Hui3r has been doing an incredible job with her translations, but I've been falling behind (or rather deliberately not reading them by saving them up to read in one go) so I haven't read past the translated chapter 2.

    I am, however, VERY interested in reading about your revision of the ending. Perhaps it includes a fair share of groveling on Shen An's end? Or maybe a significant action he's done to redeem himself? I would love for you to share it with us one day. <3

    I am going to agree with the majority, Hua Xu Yin is definitely Tang7's best novel to date. :) Her 3W3L books are light, fluffy and very easy to read (and great for rereads!); but doesn't really leave quite a lasting impression as Hua Xu Yin (and dare I say they can even be forgettable without doing a reread? :X)

    p,s. Have you tried listening to HXY's substory radiodramas? They're all fantastic and very well done! Highly recommended~ Many of my favorite scenes usually include Mu Yan's teasing of Ah Fu and there's one particular scene where they're sneaking a peek at Shi San Yue's dreams until they've reached Shi San Yue and Rong Yuan's wedding night *coughs*, well, you can imagine Mu Yan's relentless teasing - just so epic :D

    1. Hello joanna,

      Oooh! I keep hearing all these good things about Rong Yuan & Ying Ge/Shi San Yue. I'm following hui3r's translations and have not read forward except me skipping to the end of Song Ning-Shen An arc because I COULD NOT STOP (haha). I have not tried listening to audiobooks or radiodramas before, but I note your recommendation! Maybe I shall try one day. Part of it is because I'm a bit of an IT idiot in downloading stuff. Hahahaha.

      I agree! Mu Yan's teasing is very cute. But, as of now, I am *sobs* a Jun Wei-Jun Fu shipper. I don't know why since hui3r is laughing at me when there is a clear OTP in this, but Jun Wei is so cute, he gets inspiration to write his novels and leaves his friends in danger and he has a tiger! I just think he is an adorable man-child.

      Oh yay! I'm so happy people are interested in my ending. Well, it's largely in the spirit of the original arc, so no deux ex machina and no happy ever after. But, it gives more insight into Shen An's mind and provided some closure for my raging heart. Although, sometimes when I read the difficult scenes again, like the *rape*, I wonder if I'm too nice to Shen An in my ending. Haha. I will post it when hui3r finishes the Song Ning Shen An arc! :) I'm thinking of writing another Shen An-Qi Qi scene, to release my rage on Qi Qi too. Hahaha.

    2. I am not laughing at your obsession with Jun Wei x Jun Fu! Lol... Sorry. I am. But you will at least have a second male lead in Jun Wei in the drama.

      Qiqi needs to be hanged. Oh wait... that's too good for her.

    3. Mocking my Jun Wei love! :) Hahaha. Yes, Qi Qi needs a lot more pain!!!

    4. I feel horrible for agreeing, but I agree! I can't stand Qi Qi.

    5. Teehee! We are all Song Ning's fans?

  4. Hi! So sweet of you to give me a shoutout here *huggles*. Glad you're enjoying the story!

    We keep saying the same things at different places. Ppl will start suspecting we are the same person!

    1. Teehee!!! Let the suspicions start! Hahahaha

  5. aaargh, every time i remember song ning shen an story my heart broken. i hate this story so much but i also love this very much! it's such a painful but that's what make this unforgettable for me.
    i have my own story for song ning. i want her to take her child away or maybe get back to her state and live happily ever after. let shen an alone with that shameful woman. he doesn't deserve to be a husband or a father! for me, his death in battlefield is just too good for him. he should suffer more!
    Hui3r, thank you for your kindness to translate this novel <3

    1. I feel you Redhazel, I feel the exact same way! I hate you and love you so. Lol, i guess that how Song Ning feels towards Shen An too?

      Hahahah! I re-wrote his death actually. Will post it when hui3r finishes her arc! :) will send her your love for her too

    2. i can't wait to know your version! :D
      i think everybody wants to become jun fu so they can help song ning :(
      she deserves happiness in her life.

    3. Teehee!! Can't wait to share too :)
      Jun Fu is also really awesome! I love her attitude and spirit!

  6. Before the watching the drama adaptation of this novel, I skimmed through a Vietnamese translation. From what I understood, Shen An didn't know Song Ning is the one who saved him until when Jun Fu told him the truth but when I watched the drama, Shen An actually somehow knew that Song Ning was the girl who saved him without anyone telling him the truth. It kind of surprised me -_- But nevertheless, I like both versions and dislike Shen An in both. I agreed he did not deserved Song Ning's love at all. Talk about obsessive love, I think Song Ning chose her own ending :( haiz.... My heart ached when reading this story.

    1. Dear Anonymous,

      Thanks for reading my fanfiction and leaving a comment. I have only read the Shen An Song Ning part of the actual book and haven't watched the drama. I do agree that there is something obsessive about Song Ning's love and choices - but that's also what makes her intriguing. ;)