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金陵十三钗
金陵十三钗 The Flowers of War (Simplified Chinese Characters)
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Powell's Books Powell's Books

Geling gives an overview of the book:

The story takes place in December 1937 during the Rape of Nanking. A small group of girls is trapped in a Catholic school, looked after by an American priest and a deacon. A group of prostitutes takes refuge along with them, and soldiers of the defeated Nationalist army force their way in. They live together in disharmony until the carnage and rape outside the compound walls brings them to stand up and face their respective destinies. Zhang Yimou's movie, called "The Flowers of War" in English, is based on this Chinese-language novel. English and other language versions are due to be published in 2012.
Read full overview »

The story takes place in December 1937 during the Rape of Nanking. A small group of girls is trapped in a Catholic school, looked after by an American priest and a deacon. A group of prostitutes takes refuge along with them, and soldiers of the defeated Nationalist army force their way in. They live together in disharmony until the carnage and rape outside the compound walls brings them to stand up and face their respective destinies.

Zhang Yimou's movie, called "The Flowers of War" in English, is based on this Chinese-language novel. English and other language versions are due to be published in 2012.

Read an excerpt »

我的姨妈孟书娟一直在找一个人。准确地说,在找一个女人。找着找着,她渐渐老了,婚嫁大事都让她找忘了。等我长到可以做她谈手的年龄,我发现姨妈找了一辈子的女人是个妓女。在她和我姨妈相识的时候,她是那一行的花魁。用新世纪的语言,就是腕级人物。

1946年八月,在南京举行的对日本战犯的审判大会上,我老姨几乎找到了她。她坐在证人席上,指认日军高层军官的一次有预谋的大规模的强奸。

我姨妈是从她的嗓音里辨认出她的。姨妈挤在法庭外面的人群里,从悬在电线杆上的高喇叭里听见了她的证词,尽管她用的是另一个字名。

从法庭外进入审判厅,花费了我姨妈一个小时。五十六年前,八月的南京万人空巷,市民们宁可中暑也要亲自来目睹耳闻糟践了他们八年的日本人的下场。 审判大厅内外都挤得无缝插足,我年轻的姨妈感觉墙壁都被挤化了,每一次推搡,它都变一次形。日本人屠城后南京的剩余人口此刻似乎都集聚在法庭内外,在半里路外听听高音喇叭转达的发言也解恨。

我的书娟姨妈远远看见了她的背影。还是很好的一个背影,没给糟蹋得不成形状。书娟姨妈从外围的人群撕出一条缝来到她身后,被上万人的汗气蒸得湿淋淋的。姨妈伸出手,拍了拍南京三十年代最著名的流水肩。转过来的脸却不是我姨妈记忆里的。这是一张似是而非的脸;我姨妈后来猜想,那天生丽质的脸蛋也许是被毁了容又让手艺差劲的整容医生修复过的。

“赵玉墨!”届时只有二十岁的孟书娟小声惊呼。叫赵玉墨的女人瞪着两只装糊涂的眼睛。

“我是孟书娟啊!”我姨妈说。

她摇摇头,用典型的赵玉墨嗓音说:“你认错人了。”三十年代南京的浪子们都认识赵玉墨,都爱听她有点跑调的歌声。

我的书娟姨妈不屈不挠,挤到她侧面,告诉她,孟书娟就被赵玉墨和她的姐妹们救下来的女学生之一啊!

不管孟书娟怎样坚持,赵玉墨就是坚决不认识她。她还用赵玉墨的眼神斜她一眼,把赵玉墨冷艳的,从毁容中幸存的下巴一挑,再用赵玉墨带苏州口音的南京话说:“赵玉墨是哪一个?”

说完这句,她便从座位上站起,侧身从前一排人的腰背和后一排人的膝盖之间挤过去。美丽的下巴频频地仰伏,没人能在这下巴所致的美丽歉意面前抱怨她带来的不便。

书娟当然无法跟着赵玉墨,也在后背和膝盖间开山劈路;没人会继续为她行方便。她只能是怎么进来的怎么出去。等书娟从法庭内外的听审者中全身而退,赵玉墨已经没了。

也就从那次,我的书娟姨妈坚定了她的信念,无论赵玉墨变得如何不象赵玉墨,她一定会找到她和她十二个姐妹的下落。有些她是从日本记者的记载中找到的,有些是她跟日本老兵的聊出来的,最大一个部份,是她几十年在江苏、安徽、浙江一代的民间搜寻到的。
她搜集的资料浩瀚无垠。在这个资料展示的广漠版图上,孟书娟看到了1937年12月13日南京亡城时自身的座标,以及她和同学们藏身的威尔逊福音堂的位置。资料给她展示了南京失陷前的大画面,以及大画面里那个惊慌失措的,渺小如昆虫的生命——

这就是我十三岁的姨妈,孟书娟。

geling-yan's picture

For those of you who read Chinese and want to read "The Flowers of War" in the original, here is a way to obtain it in the United States.

About Geling

Geling Yan is one of the most acclaimed contemporary novelists and screenwriters writing in the Chinese language today and a well-established writer in English. Born in Shanghai, she served with the...

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