Fangirling Chinese Novels

One Life, One Incarnation: Beautiful Bones (一生一世美人骨) — Novel Introduction and Prologue



It’s a new year and new beginnings, so how about, a new novel translation? With Really, Really Miss You winding down to its final few chapters, it’s time to announce my next project — One Life, One Incarnation: Beautiful Bones, by Mo Bao Fei Bao (author of Really Really Miss You). When Toupai and Sheng Sheng’s story is complete, this one will take over that posting slot.

I’ll give you a (mainly) spoiler-free introduction and review of the novel first.  Further down, you’ll get a translation of the short prologue as a little teaser.

One of the reasons why I am a huge fan of MBFB is because of her writing versatility. I deliberately chose this story because it is a completely different sort of novel from RRMY.  I would use cute, sweet, and fun to describe RRMY whereas I would use beautiful, touching, and poignant to describe Beautiful Bones. On top of a beautiful love story, there is mystery and suspense.

You can read my translation of the official novel synopsis on SSB and further down in the comments, I have written a more detailed summary. (Be forewarned that if you read down through my summary and the comments, there are spoilers riddled everywhere.)

“Beautiful bones.  Rare in this world.
Those with bone do not have skin.  Those with skin do not have bone.
Most people’s eyes are shallow, seeing only the skin-deep appearance and not the ‘bones,’ the appearance of the inside.”

The “bones” and “skin” are metaphorical and taken from an ancient text in which these actually are referring to inner and outer beauty, respectively. Most people are shallow and only see outward beauty and fail to acknowledge inner beauty.

The female lead, Shi Yi has memories of her past life in which her heart belonged to Zhousheng Chen.  That life ended in tragedy for them, and in this life, her only goal and desire is to find him again… and one day, she does. He does not look the same, but she knows that beneath the outer appearance, it is him. He, however, does not remember her.

Here’s an excerpt of what I wrote on SSB:

In this life, Shi Yi, an ordinary person with an ordinary life, has found him again. Not wanting to lose him again, she hastily barges into his life, not hiding her interest/attraction to him. Zhousheng Chen never shows any signs of reciprocating her interest until one day, an unexpected phone call from him says, for personal reasons, he needs to get engaged and asks if she will be his fiancee. When she agrees to it and they start building a deeper relationship, Shi Yi realizes there is much more to Zhousheng Chen than what she knew.

Shi Yi is very different from Gu Sheng. She knows exactly what she wants — to find and not lose Zhousheng Chen again — and is not shy about it. She is not innocent about the ugly realities of life. After all, how can she be when she remembers pain of the past life? But that sets her firm on what she values.

Zhousheng Chen is the show stealer. He is a “nerdy” professor and has a very forgettable outer appearance (that’s right, you do not have a handsome male lead), but this guy oozes presences.  He will captivate you! I have read a huge number of c-novels and to me, he still has the most presence out of all the male leads I’ve read about. He is gentlemanly and warm, yet commanding, down to his minute gestures, and when he chooses to love a woman, his attention to every small detail can make the girl feel like the most blessed person in the world. His family background is not what you would expect, though, and is deeply rooted in the dirty and dangerous underground society.

Hoju’s solemn promise: This novel is more serious than RRMY but is not heavy.  There are moments of heartbreak, but no angst in the relationship. There are no third parties to spoil a beautiful, touching love story. Have patience because it is a very (very, very, very) slowly developed romance, but the details will warm your heart. And it is a happy ending!

Actually, I sometimes think I’m insane for choosing this as my next translation project. I started out my translation hobby by working on the works of more “classic” wuxia authors, and I can honestly say that translating Jin Yong does not intimidate me as much as translating this novel. I said before on SSB: Because of the references to the past life, there is a lot of ancient style writing woven into the story. There is so much poetry, calligraphy, etc in this novel that lots of the novel has an ancient feel, despite being set in current day China. In fact, it feels more ancient than some ancient novels I’ve read. (Haha, I guess I’ve gone the polar opposite from RRMY’s very modern, slang and online culture.)

Coupled with that is MBFB’s beautiful writing for this novel. I cannot describe it, except that when I read the novel, there is an atmosphere that I sense. It’s like I am watching scenes that are continuously shrouded in fog. Sometimes, that fog is like a gentle mist, creating a beautiful, romantic ambiance for a developing love between our leads. Other times, the fog is like a haze, obscuring the vision slightly but creating a dream-like atmosphere, like when we are flashed back occasionally to their past lives. And at times, that fog is like thick dark smoke, muddling your senses and creating an eerie atmosphere, like when we are given a glimpse of Zhousheng Chen’s family and what they do.

I am neither an English major nor a Chinese major.  In fact, I went the sciences route!!  Hence, my request to the readers is, I will be using your comments and feedback to judge how well I’m doing.  Let me know what you’re feeling about characters, plot, atmosphere.  While I know everyone has different interpretations of a story, I am trying my best to maintain author intent and “feel” in the novel.

Lastly, I just wanted to say, SSB was discovered by MBFB’s book fan club on Weibo, and the name “Beautiful Bones” was criticized for being too literal.  Let me go on the record now and explain this. The name of the novel is 一生一世美人骨. The last three characters, 美人骨 are what I have translated as Beautiful Bones. Literally, it means, “the bones of a beauty” while technically, what it is really representing is “the inner character (i.e. ‘bones’) of one who possesses true beauty”. As you can see, then, “Beautiful Bones” was my nice compromise, so long as you all understand it is metaphorical.

And with that last note, onto the novel translation……



Prologue – Half a Lifetime Spent Drifting in a Dream

Shi Yi leaned against the window, looking out beyond the car window at the street signs that were speeding by. She could not help giving a heartfelt sigh over the good weather. There was not even a trace of a cloud in the azure sky, so even one’s mood was pleasant because of this. The taxi cab’s whole journey had been flowing and unimpeded, and even after she was out of the car, her check-in procedure was smooth. However, inside security, both times she passed through the metal detector, the alarm had sounded loudly.

The most frustrating part was, the alarm over in the other security line next to her was blaring incessantly as well. She wondered who was having the same wretched luck as her and had encountered an unreasonable metal detector. “Miss, would you mind taking off your shoes. We need to check again.” She nodded and sat down on one of the chairs off to the side. As she was lowering her head to remove her shoes, she saw the backside view of the man in the adjacent security checkpoint.

Very tall, his back very straight. When she noticed him, he was picking up his laptop computer.


On the other end of the security checkpoint, the long queue wound back like dragon.

And on this end, it was only the two of them being inspected.


“Mr. Zhousheng Chen?” The man guarding the security checkpoint was holding the passport he had left behind. “You forgot your passport.”

“Thank you.” He turned around.

Sensing her gaze on him, he lifted his eyes to look over at her.

That instant of eye contact seemed to suppress all the chaos and noise surrounding them. Nothing else concerned her anymore. Shi Yi stared deeply at him, unable to move her gaze away. She wanted to laugh and at the same time, wanted to cry, but either way, she could not speak, not even half a word.


He had come after all.

Zhousheng Chen, you have come after all.

82 thoughts on “One Life, One Incarnation: Beautiful Bones (一生一世美人骨) — Novel Introduction and Prologue

  1. The prologue does not say much but i like the plotline already. I just like reincarnation themes. If anyone has read the manga Hajimari no Niina, they female lead also has the same situation, the girl is the only one who remembers but the situation is more unique than this one. Im already excited to have more of this novel. Have a wonderful day everyone!

  2. It looks interesting. I always enjoyed reading something about past life. Looking forward to it.

  3. Yay! Good luck on the translation!😀

  4. ohhh,,, sounds epic and so very romantic!!! Bring it on sunshine🙂
    Let’s start our new year with past love and eternal love… yay.
    Thank you very much for your effort and time in translating this epic novel.

  5. Looking forward happy new year

  6. Well, I’m a sucker for this kind of heartbreak stories. So, totally count me in.

  7. I’m just want to ask you last time what is your next project hehe , thanks looking forward to read this novel🙂

    • Hehe. You’re always ahead of the game, hanny.

      • Oh Hoju you more like this compare the other one ,you remember that i asked you that time from the same author ,i think the man is actor ,by the way is this MBFB newest c novel?

        • This is way better than Easily Ignited, which is one of MBFB’s first novels, and I found her writing much less refined. I posted it on SSB, so you can read my review on it.

          MBFB’s latest completed novel, just off the printing press in fact, is called “Healing Sunshine.” I haven’t gotten a chance to post on SSB yet. It’s a serious one, touching in a different way. It’s part of her series to highlight “real” people that we don’t think about, and the male lead is actually a war correspondent/journalist. Then, she is currently writing two in parallel, regarding (I think) online gaming and is similar to Really, Really in that it is for fun, really sweet, etc. One of them is nearly done, so I’ll read it when it’s complete. I followed Healing Sunshine when it was being released *very* slowly and it was torture.

          Beautiful Bones was actually written before Really, Really Miss You. I mentioned this to Little Winter, but MBFB said she had poured herself so much into BB that she needed to write something that was light and fun to recover, hence our story of Toupai and Sheng Sheng.

        • Thanks for the explanation Hoju:) , that new novel about gaming could be interesting, i will wait your review in the future😀

  8. The plot sounds interesting though main lead isn’t extraordinary. Well , I am obsessed this kind of man ^0^

  9. wow i’ll keep my eyes pasted and my fingers refreshing. It sounds so fun alreadh. Probably can’t wait for your translations and will run off to *try to* read the Chinese version. haha.🙂

    • Keep your eyes pasted for the second week of March for this one. Posting days will be the same as what Really, Really Miss You was. Can you read Chinese?

  10. What is this?! A Chinese novel where the male lead ISN’T described as breathtakingly, drop dead gorgeous in every page that women, angels, demons fall for him helplessly wherever he goes?
    No side female characters unrequited love?!

    -le gasp- A miracle! I didn’t think it was possible!

    After this author went so far as to describe Toupai’s perfect outer appearance as well as perfect everything to the point of creating a Gary-Stu, I didn’t think she was capable of writing a novel with this plotline.

    I am looking forward to reading this! ☺️

    • Tehe. I’m going to steal that: -le gasp-

      Let’s see, there is female character with unrequited love… but it’s such a small part of the story and has absolutely *zero* impact on the relationship.

      MBFB actually is a more “zheng ju” serious plot novelist. This novel was written immediately before RRMY, and she said that she had emotionally invested herself so deeply in the story that when she finished writing it, she needed something “heal” her. So she wrote the fluff and candy story of Toupai. It was purely for fun, happy all the way, and to include her love for ancient style music and food. 🙂 Now, with that being said, Beautiful Bones not a heavy story, but there is the set-up of the tragedy of the previous life.

  11. Happy New Year! I’m looking forward to the story. It’s quite a tough project. Thanks for your effort.

    • Happy New Year! Have you read this one yet? I still have to go through some of your recommendations on SSB. Too many novels, not enough time. :p

  12. It is a happy ending, right?

    • Oh gosh! Thanks for reminding me. YES! It is a happy ending. You will learn that hoju can only handle happy ending stories nowadays. My poor heart has been ripped to shreds before by tragic endings and I cannot do that to myself anymore.

      (I shall go edit my post to make sure I include that!)

  13. So this one.. sounds good.. I have a lot of questions but i should wait until chapter one release🙂

    Since this story focus on the OTP’s love story, i will definitely follow it.. You know i hate the complicated love story so this one seems like my cup of tea.. Cant waiiiittt.. Hehe

    • Questions already? I haven’t even posted the first chapter. Such an eager reader you are.🙂 I like!

      Not complicated love story at all. Simple, beautiful, with other interesting plot elements happening at the same time.

  14. It sounds like a very interesting story line. It’s quite refreshing to read a male lead that isn’t disgustingly handsome. I don’t even know if I can use disgusting & handsome in the same sentence. Hehehe… Can I ask how many chapters in the novel? I think I’m going to wait until you’re close to finish translation it to start reading because as I have mentioned before, the waiting for each chapter is driving me nuts! 😜

    Oh, do you know if the guy that sings ancient style songs, 小曲兒, has an album? I’m going crazy with his voice. 😊 I can’t find any information about him in any English related website.

    Thank you, Hoju!

    • I use “disgusting” and “handsome” together all the time. In RRMY’s words, the type of handsome that causes all sorts of jealousy, envy, and rage.

      This one is longer than RRMY. 56 online chapters, but the book is published now so I have the 3 extra epilogues as well that were written for the hardcopy book. Chapter divisions are slightly different in the published book with 18 chapters. (Remember in RRMY how a chapter would be named, for example Coconut Rice (1), (2), etc. This was the same for this one, so when they published it, all those (1), (2), etc. were combined into a single chapter. I’ll still release the chapters, though, like they are segmented online.)

      小曲兒 has two albums I know of: 曲倾天下 and 曲终人未散, the latter still not completely released, I believe. You can search for him in Baidu, or, if you can access 5sing from where you are, this is his page where you can listen to most of his songs online. (Some of his older covers haven’t been ported here.) I love his voice. Unfortunately, the ancient-style entertainment circle has been in a bit of a mess of late, with 小曲 at the centre of it, but hope that doesn’t stop you from enjoying his songs.🙂

      • I am another new 小曲兒 fan, all thanks to hoju’s brainwashing. 😀 What is the “mess” in the ancient-style entertainment circle?

        • 😦 小曲兒 was accused of plagiarizing someone else’s song. Fans have gone in an uproar, either defending or slinging insults. Seriously, I couldn’t comprehend the power of fans and why Sheng Sheng was so nervous about Toupai’s fans until I saw this. In 5 minutes, there were 500+ comments on a Weibo post. And sitting behind a computer screen, many people don’t bother being reasonable or even thinking rationally. It has been ugly. 河图 (the original singer/songwriter of those 4 songs that were featured in that midnight performance in RRMY) has been pulled into this and it has become 小曲兒 vs 河图. And then 河图 also belongs to a huge association so his buddies, also DaRen in the circle, have come out, which has resulted in 小曲兒’s buddy coming out too. OMG. It’s a mess. Regardless of who is at fault, it’s a mess. Makes me sad because I really admire the talent of both singers.

        • Plagiarizing a song? As in taking someone else’s song creation and claiming that he had come up with the musical score and lyrics himself? Or simply taking someone’s else song and singing his rendition of it? Because I believe many artists do the latter… Is the issue somewhat resolved yet? Hey, didn’t 小曲兒 and 河图 sing a duet version of 傾盡天下? I really liked it, too! Here is the link:

          Yup, the power of fans can be almighty and scary, because they are passionate and loyal to their idols. If someone had said something bad about Wallace Chung, I would probably take a little time out of my schedule to compose a polite note with supporting arguments to defend him. (I probably couldn’t bring myself to insult anybody, though. 😛 )

        • Thanks to Melanie, I’m a fan of 河图 too. ☺️ Both 河图 & 小曲兒 have two distinguish & great voices. The song 傾盡天下 gives me goose bumps while listening to it. And I can barely understand the lyrics.

        • Singing a rendition of someone’s song, be it with new lyrics, a rearrangement, or just re-singing is called a “cover.” Covers are very common in the ancient style entertainment circle. 小曲started out as a cover singer. (Sheng Sheng is mainly a cover singer in the story too.) It is allegedly said that 小曲儿 took a portion of the melodic line of a 3-D world lyric-less song (so not many people would know it off the bat) and used it in his own song. In the music industry, I don’t know the details but I think, if a certain number of measures of a melody is the same as another song, that can be considered plagiarizing, even if the chords, tempo, lyrics, etc are different. These are all accusations on Weibo and have not been made official, but the ancient style music circle is in an uproar. There are arguments for both sides.

          Anyways, I was really saddened by this and wrote a long blog post on it in my Weibo account just to get some little things off my chest. In the end, unless something is proven, I will continue to listen to the songs and try not to let any of this detract from my enjoyment.

          That “duet” of 倾尽天下 is actually fan-mixed. The fan took 河图’s recording and 小曲儿‘s cover of it and mixed the two together. Very well done really. You can only tell in the transition places, like when switching over to 河图 singing the second part or when they are singing in unison, their enunciation of the words are off from one another. These two are very professional and their post-production team’s work is very meticulous. If this was a true duet, you can bet their words would be sung at the exact same time.

          Sian, you must not have listened to the songs in chapter 33 and 34. 河图 DaRen’s voice was all over those two chapters. Translation of 倾尽天下 is in chapter 34, too. 小曲儿’s voice does to me what Toupai’s does to Sheng Sheng, and 河图’s voice is unique and versatile and I really admire his songwriting abilities. I really like both of them.

        • Unfortunatley, my memory is quite bad lately as I can’t remember what I ate for dinner or breakfast. 😜 I think I like 小曲儿’s voice slightly better than 河图’s voice so I didn’t realize that I already heard him singing 傾盡天下 song in chapter 34 along with other songs in chapter 33. I did go back to those chapters to re-hear the songs that 河图 sang.

          I’m quite impressed that the fan mixed both 小曲儿 & 河图’s voices in the YouTube song that Melanie included. I think they both have wonderful voices (along with another guy Assen). Too bad that the controversy makes them enemies. I still like their voices regardless.

        • I like 小曲兒’s voice better, although 河图 has a very distinctive voice that I very much admire.

          It’s unfortunate that there are allegations against 小曲兒. I really like his singing. For some reason, whenever 小曲兒 sings, I can imagine myself transported back to a world of wulin heroes with swords strapped to their backs and dainty maidens in long, flowing gowns playing the qin. By the way, how in the world did 河图 get pulled into this altercation? Also, what song is the one in question? Has 小曲兒 spoken up in his own defense? Is there any resolution of this matter in the near future?

          Wow, that was a fan made video? That was quite well done then, as I barely noticed the slightly off enunciations.

          By the way, I like 小曲兒’s voice so much that I don’t want to know what he looks like. I just want to keep the image of what I think he looks like in my heart without any intrusions from reality. 😀 There is another voice actor who is the voice of the male lead, Pei Yan Zhen, in the audiobook of Dian Xian’s Two Ex-Husbands on One Stage novel that I also absolutely love, too. His speaking voice is sooo dreamy that I never want to know what he looks like.

          Sian and hoju, have you ladies listened to this song yet? It’s by 貳嬸 and 小曲兒. I think the two men’s speaking voices are just as dreamy as their singing voices! 🙂 Hoju, if you have time, would you be kind enough to summarize (or translate) the lyrics? I get the vibe that the song is about brotherly love and friendship during wuxia times, but I can’t be sure.

        • “By the way, I like 小曲兒’s voice so much that I don’t want to know what he looks like. I just want to keep the image of what I think he looks like in my heart without any intrusions from reality.”

          Hahaha… I second your statement above, Melanie! I love his voice so much that I can careless how he looks like. A good friend of mine was in Singapore 3 weeks ago so I asked her to buy his album for me if she happened to go to the mall. At that time I told her that I had no idea if he had any album out or how he looked like. 😜 I’m still looking to buy online somewhere if I can find them. Crazy me!!!

          I just listened to 貳嬸 and 小曲兒’s song. Their voices are very similar and the song is nice. I, personally like the “duet” of 河图 & 小曲儿 better. It’s just 河图 has a very distinguish voice so the “duet” with 小曲儿 really strikes me when I listen to the other song (傾盡天下).

        • Hey Sian and hoju, I’m not sure if you’ve already listened to these songs by 小曲兒, but I really like them, so I thought I would share them with you.

          Hoju, I changed my mind. If you have time, could you translate the first song below (and only if you have time)? I like that song much better. If you don’t have time, please disregard my request. I don’t want to put you in an awkward position. 🙂

          SIan, if you get 小曲兒’s album, his image might be on the cover. 🙂

        • Mel, I listened to the sword heart song but haven’t listened to the other two songs until you included them here. While I was looking in my YouTube playlist to see if I have those two songs, I found this song instead
          Not sure if you can open the link since I don’t know how to share it. It’s a song that he sang with another lady, promise. 諾 BY小愛的媽ft小曲兒. Which one you think you like better? 😉 I like the promise song better.

          I feel bad for hijacking Hoju’s beautiful bones prologue to discuss 小曲儿 song but she has to take some responsibility for making us his fans, right? 😜

        • Hey Sian!

          I totally agree that hoju should take responsibility for making crazy 小曲兒 fans out of us! 😀 I love the actor Wallace Chung, but I’m sorry to say, Wallace cannot sing very well, not like 小曲兒.

          I’ve listened to 小曲兒’s version of 諾 before. I love this song! I have no clue what the lyrics are saying, but the song sounds incredibly sad. 😦 Maybe one day, some kind soul will translate the lyrics and I will finally know what the song is about.

          I didn’t post 小曲兒’s version of 諾 here, because while I loved 小曲兒’s singing in the song, I thought his female co-singer’s voice was too high-pitched and sharp, blocking out her male co-singer’s voice. I like the original version of 諾 better, simply because the female singer’s voice blended in well with her male co-singer’s voice.

          Are you able to watch tudou videos? Below is a MV of Chen Xiao and Yang Rong made using 諾 (original version). If you cannot view tudou videos, the second video below is from youtube, a different MV made using the original version of 諾. So which version of 諾 do you like better?

        • Mel, I listened to the two versions for over an hour. I even converted my 5 yo to like the song because we would listen to them over & over again. 😃 By virtue of 小曲兒’s voice, I have to say that I like his version better. I do agree that the female singer in his version is a little bit louder than his voice but I think it’s because the song was actually “hers” so that was probably my guess why her voice was louder in the song. I’m just one of those weird people that when I listen to a song or watch a movie, I’ll like the very first version that I listen or watch. So since I listened to 小曲兒’s version first without knowing the original version, I’ll like his version better. The bottom line though, I love this song & 小曲兒’s voice!!! 😍

        • The baby woke up early from his afternoon nap, so I can’t respond to all your questions. Will come back to do that some time later.

          Just thought I would do the 小曲儿 vs. 河图 comparison, since you guys started the topic. I moved the long answer over to my Weibo account. Some of it is just something I’d been wanting to say after the recent kerfuffle broke out.

          I don’t think you guys can comment over there unless you have a weibo account, plus it’s a pain because it only allows 118 characters (not words… designed for Chinese characters, you know). If you want, you can comment back here.

        • Sorry, ladies. With a grumpy, teething baby who also has a cold, I’ve had to decide between translating so I have something to post for Beautiful Bones in a week, or responding to comments.🙂

          Mel, if you want to know more about the allegations against 小曲儿, I can drop you an email. The whole incident surprisingly affected my mood, and I don’t want to tarnish anyone’s views of the ancient-style music circle any more by perpetuating this. I probably shouldn’t have brought it up here, but that was me unconsciously trying to unload somewhere.😦

          I have seen 小曲儿’s photo (and 河图‘s as well). He looks normal and average (not a computer nerd), rather modern in his dress and hairstyle if I recall correctly, but you wouldn’t bat an eye if you saw him on the street. 河图 looks surprisingly more manly, and it is jokingly said that he has a “shou” voice in a manly body.

          The male duet between 貳嬸 and 小曲儿 is often played on my playlist. When my kids request it, they ask for the “hahaha” song because of the dialogue. The dialogue is actually actually spoken by two different CVs, not 貳嬸 and 小曲儿. It is actually uncommon for a singer to do the spoken lines in a song, not that it is completely unheard of. (For example, the song in RRMY’s chapter 25, the spoken lines and male singing are both done by 五色石南葉.)

          Besides 小曲儿 and 河图, 貳嬸 is the most common singer found in my ancient-style playlist. His voice is less unique compared to the other two but very soothing.

          Buying albums will be difficult. In the grand scheme of things, the 2-D world ancient style music circle just doesn’t have the market or $ that 3-D world singers have. I remember reading that albums are in limited numbers because of the cost to make them and usually go fast. You’ll likely just have to settle for downloading, which the singers usually allow for free.

          Mel, you have found all my favourite songs on my playlist. I had that 小曲儿/银临 duet on repeat for a long time. When I get the time, I’ll do a translation of that for you. It’ll probably be posted over on my Weibo because there’s just no medium to do it here. (Still thinking where we should take this conversation to before peanuts pops in here and wonders how in the world the discussion got to this point. :p)

          Sian, I think Promise is a beautiful song. I admire 小爱的妈’s singing talent but as a personal preference, don’t always like her songs. Her voice and singing style reminds me of the late 1970s, early 1980s HK wuxia singers, like Jenny Tseng or Amy Chan. To me, very wuxia or ancient style songs with less modern instruments seems to work well for her voice, or at least, I like those better for her. Her voice has a “sharp” quality (can’t really describe it), but that’s why I feel like it overshadows other voices. The post-production must have worked hard to mix hers and 曲’s voice, after all, it’s a duet, but you still somehow feel she is more dominant, despite volume wise, I think they’re pretty close.

          Anyways, glad to share the 小曲儿 and ancient-style love.🙂

          Lastly, I’ll leave you guys with this duet of his, since you guys each left me one. My husband likes it until he gets to that last high register passage sung by the female and then he is ready to throw a brick at my computer. Although that nasal, Chinese opera style is not normally my thing, I personally don’t mind it here and think it is wisely chosen instead of using the more open vowels of Western-style opera. The drive behind this song and the instrumentals are chosen very nicely to emphasize the angst. (General premise: Han dynasty, in an upheaval of the imperial court, man died and separated from his love, the princess. He chose to forfeit the chance to reincarnate by not drinking the soup of Grandma Meng so he would not lose his memories of his love — this is what the dialogue is saying — and was granted the wish to be a cuckoo bird who ended up flying into a painting he had painted in his previous life, to wait for his love.)

        • Hoju, I read your detailed comparison between 小曲儿 & 河图 and can only say “wow”. Everything that you wrote in there was spot on. Your writing skill is amazing… I listened to Emil Chau’s song once when he was singing a duet with Della Ding for one of the tawainese drama that I watched a few years ago. His voice was different than any other pop singer that I know but I just loved his voice. Now that you mentioned it, 河图’s voice is very similar to Emil Chau’s.

          I never realize there’s such a thing as a voice lover until I read RRMY. 😍 I can’t get enough of 小曲儿’s voice. Even my husband asked me who my new idol now because he keeps hearing the same voice over & over again coming from my iPad. 😜

  15. It’s sound interesting. Thank you for this new project.

  16. Looking forward to read this novel!

  17. Hello Hoju! I came over to wish Happy Chinese New Year to peanuts and I was so happy to see this as a translation project. I remember hui’er recommending this book to me to read eons ago as well, but I was too busy to read it. Haha. I find it fun to read a story in Chinese and English.

    I really like reincarnation set-ups (I wrote a fluffy version myself haha), especially when we start in the modern day so I don’t have to wait for them to die (haha) to read about the second chance in love.

    I have been so overwhelmed that I’ve really lost touch with the translation community, but hand to my heart, I think you are an amazing translator so don’t take to heart when others might differ on translation choices. I think we all have our own translation styles.❤

    • Happy New Year, decembi!

      That’s right! Hui’er loves this novel, too. She and I both❤ ancient Zhousheng Chen.

      I'd love to have you read along and comment.🙂 And make any suggestions, too. You are an amazing translator and writer! There is such creativity and thought put into being able to write a story that is captivating. Unfortunately for myself, as well, there are not enough hours in a day, so I haven't been able to get around the translation community much anymore, too, but I truly admire your dedication to your writing and translation as well as the amazing quality of your work. Thanks for dropping by and the encouragement.❤

      And LOL at the "I don't have to wait for them to die" comment.

  18. Hi hoju!

    Happy Chinese New Year!

    When I found this post and learned that you were taking on another translation project, especially Beautiful Bones, which I found really intriguing from the discussion on SSB, I had this urge to run up to you and knock you over with a bear hug. Seriously. I was expecting a polite message saying you had fun translating Really, Really Miss You, but now you plan to retire and devote the rest of your free time to listening to ancient style songs. 😦 Imagine by selfish relief to hear that you will continue translating! *hug* I love handsome, hot guys, so I am looking forward to seeing how this male lead with a “forgettable face” will make me fall in love with him! Keep up the great work! 😀

    I agree with decembi above. You are an amazing translator, and I say this truthfully. (Hey, what wuxia translations have you done? I want to read!) I am not an English major, either. English was actually my weakest subject in school. However, I can recognize quality work when I see it. I can be a very blunt and harsh commentator; I don’t beat around the bush when I criticize, so trust me when I actually compliment. 😛 I don’t have the skills to translate Chinese novels, but even if I read Chinese fluently, I don’t think I would dare tackle translating another’s work. Ultimately, translating is too challenging and scary for me. I would have to take another’s literary work and attempt to bring that piece of work to life in another language without compromising the essence its original author has created. That kind of skill is simply beyond my abilities, and so I take my hat off to all the excellent translators out there, you included.

    Lastly, I would like to say peanuts has done an awesome job assembling a group of incredible translators here at Fanatical (herself included). I don’t where peanuts finds you girls, but I live in constant fear that one day she will suck Moonblossom into her group, too. If that happens, Cloud Manor will have to shut down for sure, since her translation of Rice Pot is the only thing keeping the site going. ^_^;;

    • Hi Mel! Happy Lunar New Year to you, too!

      A couple of days ago, my one year old ran up to me to give me a big hug, but instead, rammed his noggin into my nose. I thought he broke it, it hurt so much. :p So, I’ll take a nice gentle hug instead. :p (By the way, I might save that polite message about retiring for some other day. Or maybe I should copy and paste Toupai’s retirement message when that day for me comes.)

      Hmm… wuxia translations. Wow, that was a long time ago. Over on spcnet, I translated and posted “A Happy Hero” and a portion of “Wu Lin Wai Shi.” Over in my old laptop, I started translating a Liang Yu Sheng novel, but it was so long ago, I can’t even remember which one it is. This one never ended up getting posted. I started it thinking I might post it when things were less busy after my daughter was born, but that never happened. And then I also have a draft somewhere of a portion of Jin Yong’s Sword Stained with Royal Blood.

      Thank you for the encouragement.🙂 I wish I had your writing skills. Translating and writing are two different art forms, and I admire your art.🙂

      Peanuts is wonderful.❤ She won't steal unless Moonblossom expresses interest in being poached.😉

      • Whoa, I didn’t realize you translated wuxia stories over at spcnet. Is the Happy Hero translation completed? I will head on over and read it, but lately I have been having issues logging onto spcnet. Sometimes, I can log on, and sometimes, it keeps saying my password is incorrect.

        It’s amazing how hardy a kid’s head can be! I totally understand what you are saying. My son will sometimes ram his head into my shoulder and nuzzle, but I don’t have a lot of meat on me, and he just ends up banging onto my collar bone. He seems fine, but wow, my collar bone hurts!

        Thanks for your encouragement on my writing, hoju. Thank goodness writing is only my hobby, because I would starve if I depended on it to survive, since I’m not very prolific or good at it. Decembi should be the one to take the prize on excellent writing/story-telling skills. I have not had time to read through all her fiction, but from the small sample I have tasted, it’s amazing.

        I love peanuts. She is so cute, I just want to pat her on the head. 😀

        • Yes, A Happy Hero is complete. It was my very first translation, so go easy on me. :p

          They need those hardy heads. At least, my son does because his head seems to always be getting new bruises.

          I agree! Decembi is absolutely amazing. I have also only sampled some of her writing but was so impressed.

        • Haha! My son keeps bonking his head, too! But thank goodness he has inherited his thick skull from my husband. 😀

          I will definitely read Happy Hero! Is it a Gu Long novel? I haven’t heard of it before. I will comment on spcnet if I can log on. If not, I might randomly post my comments here. 😛

          I’m so envious of decembi’s talent! If only she were a Wallace Chung fan, then she could help give him free publicity through her writings. 😀

        • Yes, Gu Long. Not a very well known one, however. I tend to like to stay away from mainstream or popular stories and choose ones that are still good but relatively unknown.🙂

      • Btw, I just started reading Happy Hero. Only 2 chapters so far (& was skimming the 3rd one) but I already cracked up laughing. 😜 Hoju, you’re an awesome translator!

        • 🙂 Let me know for sure how you like that story! It’s not a typical Gu Long or wuxia novel, so I’m always curious to what others think of it. Plus, it’s my first baby…🙂

        • I’m up to chapter 22. I can’t stop reading it so my eyes are so tired by the time I go to bed. 😴 Yes, it’s not a typical Wu xia with not so many actions in it but I love how the friendship among those 4 people develops. The interaction between yan qi & Guo da lu is killing me softly… 😉 Those two are so funny. I was surprised that the spcnet website disappeared yesterday morning until late afternoon. I thought I had to beg you to email me a copy of the translation if the website wasn’t up. Oh, you’re really good in leaving us on a clif hanger…

  19. Hi.. Happy Goat Year to all of you wonderful translators.

    This book didn’t impress me too much as it was written in her point of view and she was really shielded from ZCC’s world. But that may be my lack of understanding of mandarin. Hopefully, through your translation, my understanding of this story will increase

    • Let’s see what a re-read will do for you, then.😉 Come comment and we can debate and discuss. :p Did you ever read 一生一世 (also known as 突然想地老天荒) where no one is shielded from any of the ugly truth?

      • I have not read that. Is this a HE story? I Googled and it seems to be about triads and sad ending? I really admire MBFB writing scope. It is really wide. She can write about triads to online gaming world.

        I’m only going to read HE stories from now on no matter how great the writing is… if I can keep away!🙂

        • Yes, it is a HE. A good story. The male lead is fearsome in the triad/underground world, but the story and backstory of his love for the female lead is touching. I started and abandoned that one at first because it really does describe the ugly triad world with guns, explosions, blatant killing, etc, but went back to finish it once I was in the right mindset. Very different from RRMY or BB. It does give you a taste of how versatile MBFB’s writing is, although she doesn’t lose her signature highlights of a great love story and amazing male leads.

  20. Oh my gosh, this was one of my very first novels/audio books and it was soooooooooooooooooo good. So good. So happy and looking forward to this. Thank you so much! I cannot wait…seriously…

    It’s just soooooo good.

    • 🙂 Yay! Glad you love it!! Have you listened to the radio drama? Only part one is out, but one of my favourite CVs is doing the voice of Zhousheng Chen.

  21. Great premise and prologue! I was just wondering though becuase in the summary it says that in her previous life she loved her teacher and the crown prince was jealous of that thus he killed her family and everyone .. o.o why would she like him in this life though? Does she not hate him for hurting her previous love?

    • Thank you!

      You’ve actually mixed up characters and plot lines. I’ll port your question over to SSB and answer it in the Beautiful Bones thread to keep it spoiler free over here.🙂 Don’t want to give away everything before I’ve even started the book, but just to clarify to anyone reading these comments, that’s not what happens.😉

  22. Hi Hoju, is this book that you have listed been reviewed at SSB
    一生一世 (also known as 突然想地老天荒) if yes could you give me the link to it? I do like triads and action stuff with a love story thrown in. I dont think it has been translated yet, rite……maybe I will just read the review to know the plot first….is the story line similar to City of Mercy (慈悲城) hope I got the title right?

    Thanks and will be coming back to read this translation of yours!

    • Nope, that book hasn’t been posted in SSB yet. Funny enough, this last week alone, I have been asked about it 4 times, so I guess it’s a hint that someone should post it. :p And nope, it hasn’t been translated yet. I haven’t read Ding Mo’s City of Mercy ,so I can’t compare. I can tell you that the love story is very compelling, the male lead is extremely, extremely faithful, and its a HE. It’s actually a series with Beautiful Bones, set 8-9 years earlier (although you don’t need to read them in sequence to understand) and Zhousheng Chen makes a few brief appearances.

  23. Hello, I just wanted to ask why the title is translated as it is. To my knowledge, 一生一世 is a phrase that means roughly for the rest of my life/forever (depending on how poetic you want to be), and if I’m not mistaken, is usually used in marriage vows.

    • Hi there.

      You are correct, to some extent. 一生一世 literally translated is “one life, one incarnation.” When people think about their lives, in most circumstances, they are thinking about it up until the moment they die and then it is over. Therefore, 一生一世 is really up to the point of their death. When someone says, “I will love you 一生一世” it could be accurately translated as, “I will love you for a lifetime,” which can be thought of as “I will love you until I die,” or “I will love you for this entire life.” In a sense, this could mean “forever” because well, after you die, it is kind of inconsequential in most cases.

      However, when there is a belief that life does not end after you die but you get reincarnated, 一生一世 no longer carries the connotation of “forever.” It is still “for *a* lifetime” but what about the next life, or the one after that? Therefore, 一生一世 is not equivalent to “forever.”

      Taking it back to this novel in particular, I translated the title as “One Life, One Incarnation” for a couple of reasons:
      (1) This is actually the second book in the author’s 一生一世 series. In the very first book, also called 一生一世, the phrase 一生一世 was used in its absolute literal sense. The male lead in that novel makes the conscious choice that he is willing to have only this one life, one incarnation with the female lead and go to hell for eternity after he died for all the evil/crimes he commits for her. Since the entire series takes the name of that novel, and the subsequent books’ titles contain 一生一世, it is appropriate to honour that meaning.
      (2) Forgive me if you have read the novel and I am repeating what you know, but there IS a reincarnation theme in Beautiful Bones. Therefore, because of the idea of reincarnation that perpetuates throughout the story, translating 一生一世 as “forever” would not be accurate. One of the recurring points is, Shi Yi has memories of her past life and her only goal in this life as this incarnation is to find Zhousheng Chen and be with him. Nothing else matters in this life, this incarnation. Perhaps I could have translated this as “One Lifetime: Beautiful Bones” and while it would be correct, it would not bring the reincarnation theme of the novel across.

      Anyways, sorry for the long answer. Hope it clears things up.🙂

  24. Pingback: C-Novel Review : One Life, One Incarnation – Beautiful Bones (一生一世美人骨) – mhryupassions

  25. wow… this is a very late reply lol. as i just interested in chinese novel around late january 2016😀
    so i just read this novel, thank you for translating this novel. i love the slow build-slow pace between the two of them :***
    very relaxing, very serene… ahhh

    i’ve read really really, miss you before and i just want to say, “i’m sorry toupai-senpai, i might deflect form you ><."

    • Hooray! Better late than never, right?🙂 I love the entire atmosphere woven by this novel. It’s almost surreal.
      LOL, that’s alright. Zhousheng Chen is awesome, but I’ll still keep Toupai! I❤ him.

  26. After reading “Really, Really Miss You,” I’m going to read this next hehe.
    Thanks in advance, hoju~

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