Fangirling Chinese Novels

My Darling (我的曼达林) — Introduction and Prologue


Hope you have all been well. 🙂 I have finally settled on my new project and am ready to start posting regularly again. My apologies for the delay.

A little explanation for why it took so long to bring the next project to you guys, some introductory words from me, and then, the translation of the prologue. 🙂

Back in the fall, when I was still working on Stewed Squid with Honey, I had actually had a novel in mind that I wanted to translate. It was my favourite novel of 2016 and is not a Mo Bao Fei Bao novel. (Gasp! Yes, Hoju does read other authors. LOL) After taking a lovely December off, I signed out a bunch of history books from the library to read up on the era that is the novel’s setting, borrowed some English novels set in that period in China’s history to understand the Western world’s views on that era, and even did the translation of the first chapter to present to the author when asking for permission. While the author did approve of the translation (yay!), unfortunately, the online publisher would not give authorization for a translation to be done, despite it being a non-commercial translation and the author personally asking them for me. (The publisher has exclusive online distribution rights of the novel, and by right, the distribution of any derivative work needs to have their permission.) Disappointed, yes, but I asked, and so one should expect the possibility of being turned down and respect the other party’s rights. Anyway, all this to say that after working for a good portion of January on trying to get that project going, I was back to square one, and that is the reason for the delay. My backup project was in a similar situation as that author is contracted to the same online publisher.

So, long story short, I am back to translating a Mo Bao Fei Bao novel, which does have approval to go. Hey, you don’t have to twist my arm to translate the works of my favourite author. 🙂


Novel: 我的曼达林 My Darling
Author: Mo Bao Fei Bao
Translation schedule: Updates posted on Tuesday and Friday evenings, N. American time
Anticipated end date: Mid to late July 2017

My Darling falls into Mo Bao Fei Bao’s “sweet” category of novels, which includes Really, Really Miss You and Stewed Squid with Honey. Unlike the latter two, though, I would not classify this story as fluff and candy. The characters and their thoughts and emotions are more realistic—and flawed. Granted, I would not say this is a realistic story like Together Forever, but this is not completely a shut-off-your-brain-and-just-enjoy-the-cuteness novel either.

Chu Jian and Jian Bianlin are childhood friends and grew up together almost from when they were old enough to remember. Since long ago, Jian Bianlin has loved Chu Jian, and that has not changed even now that he is a highly popular idol singer and actor. To Chu Jian, though, Jian Bianlin is just Jian Bianlin—her good, good friend, like family, but nothing more. She knows about his feelings for her and feels guilty (for various reasons which you’ll read about) about not returning those feelings. This has put a strain on their relationship over the years. Eventually, her heart softens and she gives in, promising to be his girlfriend, to give him an opportunity as well as herself a chance to open up her heart to him. And so begins our male lead’s journey of winning over the heart of the girl he has always held in his own.

As I had said, this one is less candy-like, and in the beginning, you can actually sense the tension between the two. To be honest, Chu Jian frustrated me in the first part of the novel, and I wanted to tell Jian Bianlin (well, both of them actually) to actually talk, but I do appreciate the flaws that the author has woven into these characters. Don’t worry, though. This novel does not fall into the writer’s “sweet” novel category undeservedly. After Chu Jian agrees to give “them” a chance, she gradually sets aside the baggage of an incident in their school days as well as her preconceived notion that she and Jian Bianlin just cannot be. Slowly, we see their romance blossom as they demonstrate and learn that love can (and should) require the input of effort. They both grow up, their edges getting worked off, as they learn about being in a relationship. And we, the readers, smile with them as their relationship becomes closer and deeper, until near the end, when someone asks Chu Jian why she had not loved Jian Bianlin in the past, her answer is, “I must have been blind.” (Take that as a paraphrase for now since I’m going from memory and haven’t actually translated that part yet. :p)

I won’t say more as everything going through my mind is bordering on spoiler territory (or have I already encroached that?). We’ll keep this spoiler free, please, translator included. 🙂

Prologue is below. Hope to see you all along the ride!



“I heard you and Tong Fei have your own production company?” the person in the phone asked her in surprise.

“Nowadays, if you’re an artiste, you’re part of a production company. Screenwriters have them, too, as do directors. It’s not really all that sophisticated and special. It’s just so you have a name you can put down in the spot for whom the invoices should be made out to.” With her eyes on the display screen in front of her, Chu Jian offhandedly provided this response.

Oh crud. She just lost her last fifty Hong Kong dollars worth of credit.

On the other end of the line, the other party rambled on for another couple of sentences. After hanging up the call, Chu Jian rummaged through her backpack and discovered that she had used up all of the Hong Kong currency she had on hand… Should she go up to the second floor and find an “unofficial” money changer to change some?

The feeling of being penniless was annoyingly depressing. Tong Fei had just left her here, and Chu Jian did not even know when she would be returning. If she did not change some money so she could continue betting, she really would have nothing to do.

While Chu Jian was still wavering on what to do, a man sat down by her side.

© 2013-2016 FANATICAL ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Translated with the express permission of the author for If you are not reading this from, then this translation has been posted without the permission of the translator.

A pair of black-frame glasses with flat lenses. Very young. He was wearing a dark gray pair of casual pants, black sneakers, and a white, cotton, short-sleeved athletic shirt. He looked like a university student. However, so as to have the best outcome when on camera, his facial contours were very chiseled and defined, and hence he appeared to be on the slightly slim side.

Jian Bianlin? Chu Jian was somewhat taken aback. Concealing her face with the back of her hand, she furtively surveyed around the area and then whisperingly asked him, “You’re not scared of your picture getting taken?” He did not speak. Rotating the cap in his hand a half-circle, he put it on so that its brim obscured half of his face.

“Do you have any Hong Kong dollars?” Chu Jian’s second sentence cut straight to the chase. Still, he did not make a sound. From his pants pocket, he fished out his wallet and searched through it from front to back, but he was only able to find two thousand Hong Kong dollars.

“This casino is so weird. It’s in Macau, but its machines only accept Hong Kong dollars.”

© 2013-2016 FANATICAL ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Translated with the express permission of the author for If you are not reading this from, then this translation has been posted without the permission of the translator.

Muttering, Chu Jian took the two bills of Hong Kong currency from him. After inserting them in turn into the machine, she spun her chair in a semicircle and tilted her head to the side to look at this young man beside her.

Hmm… she was a little thirsty.

But to make him trek across half the casino to grab a drink for her was not a very realistic idea either.

Behind the both of them were countless slot machines, and in the distance, there were several hundred table games. So very noisy.

Chu Jian had no choice but to lean in close to speak to him. “Sit here and keep an eye on the machine for me. Absolutely make sure no one photographs you. I’m a little thirsty. I’m going to go get two cups of milk tea.”

His brows furrowed together slightly.

Chu Jian had already left, darting out onto the floor to get some milk tea. From far, he gazed upon that slight backside, once again pressing the button on the vibrating mobile phone that was in his pocket to reject the incoming call. He then motioned at a nearby casino server.

When Chu Jian returned with two cups of milk tea in hand, that seat was already empty.

“Miss, over here. That sir already inserted a membership card here for you.” The server pointed at the screen display.

The credit balance at the top right hand corner of that screen was not a small amount. As a result of this card that had been provided in her aid, Chu Jian was able to tide over for another three, four hours in the casino. By the time she returned to her room, it was long past midnight.

© 2013-2016 FANATICAL ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Translated with the express permission of the author for If you are not reading this from, then this translation has been posted without the permission of the translator.

After hurriedly taking a shower, she arbitrarily turned on the television and happened to see a rerun of the 2015 China Victory Day 70th Anniversary Parade[1]. This sort of thing that “blazoned our nation’s might and prestige” was, of course, something that she would never tire of watching. Hugging a throw pillow and propping her chin on her hand, she prepared herself to kill time with this while she continued to wait for Tong Fei.

Two minutes later, the one who had disappeared for the entire night, Tong Fei, found her conscience again and called. The first sentence she said was, “Were you bored tonight?” Before Chu Jian had a chance to grumble at her, Tong Fei’s second sentence came at her. “Hurry up and get yourself ready. I’ve brought a bunch of people over to talk business.”

What’s there to get ready? It’s not like I’m a part of the entertainment industry like you guys are, Chu Jian silently countered.

© 2013-2016 FANATICAL ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Translated with the express permission of the author for If you are not reading this from, then this translation has been posted without the permission of the translator.

In the end, at past one o’clock in the morning, this place was actually even livelier than the casino.

Tong Fei had brought along all her contacts in Macau whom she had had business socials or work dealings with. In this hotel room, they began a new round of project discussions, from projects’ directors to actors’ salaries that were soaring like a boat riding the rising tide.

“I heard Jian Bianlin is in Macau as well. I sent an outline and screenplay over to his agent, but I’m still waiting for a reply,” someone suddenly said.

The instant the name “Jian Bianlian” appeared in the conversation, several producers laughed.

There were more than one or two people present here who had sent him screenplays and script outlines.

Alas, this idol artiste, who had been rising in popularity and worth over the last year, had entered a period of transition in his image and was being strict in his criteria for selecting dramas to participate in. No one in this room tonight had been able to get a confirmed slot in his schedule. The group conversed awhile, some commenting that his asking price was too expensive, some mentioning that he was not accommodating when it came to publicity and promotional events, some saying that he was too picky when it came to scripts, etc., etc. In any case, they had a nice round of dissing of this currently popular idol artiste.

© 2013-2016 FANATICAL ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Translated with the express permission of the author for If you are not reading this from, then this translation has been posted without the permission of the translator.

In the midst of these accusations that were coming closely one after another, Chu Jian wordlessly boiled a kettle of water.

Actually… his personality was okay. It wasn’t that bad…

Tong Fei took advantage of the opening when Chu Jian was pressing the switch on the kettle to throw her a meaningful look: That guy who has lived across the hall from you since you were four years old sure is hugely and crazily popular.

© 2013-2016 FANATICAL ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Translated with the express permission of the author for If you are not reading this from, then this translation has been posted without the permission of the translator.

[1]反法西斯七十周年大阅兵. More formally called 纪念中国人民抗日战争暨世界反法西斯战争胜利70周年阅兵式 “parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggressions and the World Anti-Fascist War,” this is often simply referred to in English as the “2015 China Victory Day Parade.” It was in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. Held on September 3, 2015, it included a grand military parade of 12 000 troops and was attended by many world leaders. (Note that this novel’s online releases began in the fall of that same year.)


1 of 1 Prologue
0 of 36 Chapter segments
0 of 1 Epilogue


Index |  Next Chapter ≫

77 thoughts on “My Darling (我的曼达林) — Introduction and Prologue

  1. Welcome back Hoju. Looking forward to my bi-weekly read again. Thank you for bringing another Mo Bao Fei Bao work 😉

  2. Thank you Hoju. I am really happy that you have a new project. You make my day.

  3. Congrats on the new project Hoju!! I’m sure I’ll devour it with glee as soon as I get the post notifications! *cheers you on*

    • Thank you, Rebecca. It’s nice to see familiar IDs commenting, like I’m seeing old friends again after being away. See you soon in the next post!

  4. Welcome back Hoju! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 Thank you so much!! 😘😘😘.

  5. yay!!! so excited to see the start of the new project!!! Have been missing your bi-weekly updates, but hoped you enjoyed the well-deserved rest 🙂

    • The warm welcomes make coming back so nice. Thank you. 🙂
      Maybe not well-rested since my little boy decided he likes getting up in the middle of the night to see if he can convince me to sleep with him, but hubby was happy I wasn’t staring at my screen every night.

  6. Thank you for this new project of yours. I’m looking forward with this journey of yours.

  7. Yay, new project! I think it’s awesome you go to so much effort to get permission for your translations. You’ve given me another reason to love your blog. 😍

  8. Thank you for sharing this new story with us. Through you, I have discovered this great author and can’t wait to read more from her. Thanks!

  9. Welcome back hoju! And with the new project too! Weeeeeee ~ let’s get this party started!

  10. Welcome back…
    Look like there will be another lovely story to read, now 😁😁

  11. Welcome back hoju! And thank you for this new project! \o/

  12. I am sorry your chosen books aren’t working out, I hope the publishers change their mind! I am delighted you had another one of these in your back pocket to translate. Thank you so much. These add such a nice note to my day.

  13. Thank you so much for translating another MBFB novel. I discovered your blog late last year and have been stalking it ever since:-)

  14. Hooooh! This looks promising!

  15. O yeah Hoju is back. With a new project too. 2017 is good for my soul now….
    I always trust your judgment in stories you choose to translate and Mo Bao Fei Bao. I’ll be lurking here again weekly. Lmaooo.

    • Haha. Well, I could come back without a new project, if you want. You’d probably end up just getting posts of my dinner for the day. 😉

      Don’t lurk. You are allowed to openly hang out here. LOL

  16. thank you very much for picking up another project…..welcome back…

  17. Ahhh! Another translation ~~~ 😁
    This one sounds so good too though I’m sorry to hear about the difficulty you had with your other project.

    • 😀😀
      You have to go in with the expectation that people are entitled to say no, and unfortunately, that was the answer I received. It’s ok. I am happy to bring another MBFB story to you guys. 🙂

  18. Horray, than you Hoju! I love this author. As for the other novel, it’s so wonderful of you (and many other translator) go through the effort to request permission from authors and publishers. On top of all the research efforts… thank you so much.

  19. Welcome back! Disappointed that the publisher didn’t allow you to translate that novel, but at least you tried! 😉

    • Thank you! It feels like long time no see.

      That’s what I tell myself, and the author’s support was definitely very encouraging. Disappointed, of course, but I will move on. 🙂 I love MBFB anyway.

  20. thank you. looking forward to.

  21. nice to see you back again.

  22. Welcome back! Always looking forward for your I have something worth waiting twice a week…thank you..

  23. Thanks Hoju, been waiting since i saw it on MBFB Weibo 👍

  24. Yey thanks and welcome back 😍😙

  25. Thank you 😉 I was really sad because just after I had found your blog you took a break 😦 but now that you’re back I will enjoy new updates 🙂

    • Welcome. 🙂 Hope you’ve been enjoying our little blog. And of course, hope to see you as we progress through this story.😊

  26. With the prologue alone, I’m in! Can’t wait for the rest of the novel. Thanks always for your efforts!

  27. Yeayy! Since I’m relatively new to C-Novel, this is basically the first time where I’m gonna have to wait for updates to read the story haha unlike Really Really Miss You and Stewed Squid with Honey.
    Looking forward to the next update~ Thanks Hoju 🙂

    • 🙂 Ooooh… let’s see how it goes. Gushing along with other readers while the translation is ongoing can be so fun. 🙂 (And your translator loves reading comments.)
      I look forward to seeing you, too!

  28. Welcome back Hoju! 😘😘
    This is really made my day and yeaay for MBFB novel!! 😍
    Thank you so much! This is look so promising 😍😍😍

  29. New reader here! 🤗🤗🤗

  30. Welcome baaaaaaack Hoju! Glad to be part of another Mo Bao Fei Bao ride!! Tuning in for moaaaaaar! 😆😆😆

  31. as always thank you for the amazing chapter :3
    new project ❤

  32. Thank you can’t wait for another Mo Bao Fei Bao novel 💖 …. I’m a big fan here :)💖

  33. welcome back Hoju!!!

    hopefully the publisher will eventually agree upon your request in translating their authors’ works but also don’t mind reading another MBFB’s novel XD

    • Thank you!
      🙂 I hope so, too.
      LOL, I don’t mind AT ALL about another MBFB novel. It’s actually a goal of mine to translate every single one of her novels. Whether I post all of them is another thing, but I just love completeness.

  34. Hellooo I’ve been reading most of your works, I really enjoy it, especially they are all HE stories 😊. .. do you also have project in translating ‘the healing sunshine’ the MBFB’s ? Thank you 😊 I think I’ve become MBFB ‘s fan😉 because of you 😅 ….. looking forward for the next chapters 😘

  35. Welcome back hoju! So sorry to hear that the publisher would not let you translate the novel you wanted after all the time you spent researching. I am so impressed with your dedication in doing justice to original works. Thank you so much for all your time and commitment, without which many of us would not be able to enjoy these Chinese novels. I look forward to reading your translations as always. I am already rooting for our guy to get his girl ^^’

  36. What a wonderful surprise. I’m so glad you are back Hoju 🙂
    And yay!! À new MBFB novel, my long commutes home are going to be very entertaining again.
    I hope the publishers will relent and consent to your translations in the near future. A novel needing historical and westerners point of view, sounds grand. Thank you for the hard work and the 300% effort you always put into giving us the best of C-novels

    • I like fun surprises. 🙂 I’m happy to be back.
      A nice cnovel would be a nice way to improve an otherwise boring commute.

      The research was to make up for my lack in that area of Chinese history. 🙂 I really hope hey relent as well. Maybe one day…

      Thank you for the kind encouragement. ❤

  37. After reading the Introduction and Prologue, I found this book promising👍! Hope it’s as good as Stewed Squid with Honey!

    Thank you very much for sharing this novel! 🤗

    Have a great time in China! Enjoy! 😊

  38. Hoju! I’m back (if you still remember me haha). I’ve been looking forward on reading this novel. Thanks a lot 🙂

  39. My first thought in english when reading the chinese title of this book was My Mandolin. >_< Your introduction for this book brought me back to life again and made me read on. Thank you so much for taking the time to translate so many wonderful novels.

    • Hahaha… I remember when the author first started posting this, everyone was scratching their heads over the title. I love working magic and raising people back to life. 😉

      Thank you for reading!

  40. Hello, I’m back to read another MBFB novel you translated (after Beautiful Bones and RRMY)! I like reading about flawed characters, and the fact that childhood friends did not automatically transition into lovers – a trope which we always find everywhere else – has my interest. I’ll be back to comment again once I finish reading. 😀

    By the way I’m curious about which other author/novel you wanted to translate but could not obtain permission from the publishers. If my CN is good enough to read it in the original language, I may try to do that. Since the projects you pick up are always promising.

  41. Just found this on Novel Updates. Thank you so much for translating. Really enjoyed it.

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