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That Which Can’t Be Washed Away: A Novel by Xu Huaizhong

Posted: November 12th, 2023 | No Comments »

Xu Huaizhong’s That Which Can’t be Washed Away (translated by Haiwang Yuan and Will Spence and published by Sinoist Books.

1947, and the final bloody chapters of the Chinese Civil War unleash a tidal wave of Red across the nation. Qi Jing and his Communist 9th Brigade are given a near-impossible mission: ford the mighty Yellow River and cut a swathe south through the Nationalist-held Dabie mountains, regardless of cost.

As the disciplinarian Qi leads his soldiers through wretched conditions, he comes to rely on the enigmatic Wang Keyu to shore up flagging morale through education and propaganda. Amid desolate bluffs and ridges, she proves to be a beacon to the peasant warriors, especially Cao Shui’er, the commander’s bodyguard.As the campaign splinters and the fighting devolves into a hand-to-hand struggle against reluctant countrymen. Cao and an injured Wang find themselves stranded at the entrance to an ethereal network of caves. Can they find their way back through this labyrinth? Or will the walls close in on them?

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