Fanatical

Fangirling Chinese Novels

The Road Home (归路) — Epilogue and Author’s Afterword *NOVEL COMPLETED*

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It’s been five months since the start of this translation. Thank you, readers, for joining in on this ride. I am glad I had the honour and ability to bring this story to you, as well as, perhaps, a smile during this time.

This post contains the epilogue and the author’s afterword. Lastly, as is my custom, I have signed off with some of my own thoughts, which you are welcome to give a “miss.”

The final epilogue gives you the final piece of the puzzle, what each of them were truly thinking after they saw one another again in Inner Mongolia. *sniffles*

Epilogue

This story was translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com only. All forms of reproduction, redistribution, or re-posting are not authorized. If you are not reading this from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, the copy is unauthorized and has been taken without consent of the translator.

 

It was eight or nine years later when I ran into my first love again; it was at the gas station, as I walked out of the convenience store after buying some water. She stared at me, her gaze quivering, glistening with tears. Tentatively, she asked, “Do you still remember who I am?”

Ah, forgetting would actually have been better.

The year we broke up, I was not even twenty years old. With a starving belly, I had swallowed a snake gallbladder raw and stripped the skin off of a frog. I had traversed deep into mountains and thick forests while bearing 40 kilograms of weight. None of those caused me to collapse. But when those military exercises were over, the moment I touched alcohol, I began to think of you. A grown man more than 1.8 metres tall had lain in a thicket of grass that was half the height of a person, and consumed alcohol until he was like an idiot—but who knew about this?

Holding my bottle of water on my upturned palm, I looked at her and rather placidly answered, “Yes, I remember you. Even if I were to turn to ashes, I would still remember you.”

<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com.com only 

The blazing sun above my head and the earth beneath my feet shall bear witness for all this lifetime.

You are the only one I have loved in my days of youth. My girl, Gui Xiao.

<>The translator would sincerely appreciate it if you would read this translation only at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, the actual site of posting. Thank you.

✻ ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻

<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com.com only 

Gui Xiao,

I’m currently still in the KTV, waiting to take those punks to the train station.

I found this paper behind the counter; same for the pen. Currently, it has been one hour and twenty-three minutes since you drove away from here. They’re still singing that same song they were singing when you got here. The lighting in here is really dim. I’ve actually pulled open the curtains and propped the door open to write this. The wind and snow are blowing hard. My fingers can last about an hour in the cold wind.

One hour for one letter. That’s sufficient.

<>Please support this translation by only reading it at its actual site of posting, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com.  Thank you very much.

Xiao-Xiao, I haven’t written any letters to you in these last few years. Thinking back to before that, I did write a few to you then, but I didn’t mail any of them out. One, I didn’t know your home address, but two, I figured you were at the age that you should be married or getting married and I didn’t want to disturb you. Of course, after this letter is done being written, it still won’t be mailed. I just wanted to find a place where I could talk to you for a bit.

To be honest, our breakup back then nearly sapped me of half my life. But later, whenever I thought back on things, they were always the good things about you.

Back on that summer day of that year, beneath our school’s old poplar tree, you had stared at me. You must not have known that afterwards, every time I chanced upon you on campus, I would take a couple of extra glances at you. You’re the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen. That’s been true since we were just teenagers. Every time I bumped into you at the open-air sinks in front of your classroom, I would convince myself, “Lu Chen, just forget it. She is so pretty and from a military compound at that. She’s totally a girl who’s out of your league.”

But I still ended up falling in love with you, the wonderful person that you are, and you fell in love with me, too.

The time that we were actually together was not long. After we broke up, I did resent Heaven, I did hate my parents, but I never did truly blame you. Other than a lousy old mobile phone, I’ve never given you anything worth mentioning. Whenever I took you out, if it wasn’t to go play pool, then it was to go to the arcade. There was no good food to eat in the town, and during the best of times, just eating a bowl of beef noodles could make you ridiculously happy. I would always bring you to the auto shop because I wanted to cook for you. I can’t comment on how good the cooking was, but the food was definitely clean.

Before I met you, I never really pondered over what it’s like for other people when they’re dating, and then when you and I were together, I didn’t have the chance to ponder on that question either. You’re not a picky person; you never once requested anything from me. Later, when I was in the military in the place where I’m stationed, every time I thought back on those scenes in the town, I would think, I honestly got the better end of the deal and could be considered a jerk of a guy who didn’t love and dote on his girlfriend.

There’s a really good old saying: Those in their first love don’t know how to love. When they learn how to love, the girl is already gone.

<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com.com only 

Xiao-Xiao, I’m sorry.

I joined the military without ever discussing it with you. I know you had actually planned things out in your mind already, that after you finished your college entrance exams, you would attend a university in the city I was in, and in Nanjing, you and I would study together, date, graduate, and then find work. All of the plans were so wonderful. And you were studying hard. The only things I can blame are that I was too set on my own ideas and I also did not understand you well enough at all. Now that I think about it, with how much you liked me, I should have at least discussed it with you; you’re not an unreasonable person. But in the end, you still accepted my decision.

I was enlisted. I was in a new environment. There were unfamiliar people. And training, training, and more training.

There were times when I would just throw myself on the bed and then be asleep within three seconds. That was a type of life that was completely different from when I was studying in university. You would always ask, did I miss you? How could I not miss you, my girl? The time I missed you the most was that time when I was wrapped in bandages and sitting in the hallway of the military base’s hospital, thinking that you were waiting for my call right then. But I couldn’t go back. I needed to wait for my political instructor, to wait for my comrade-in-arms whose wounds were being treated. I missed you. I was scared you would cry again, cry and say that I didn’t give you any attention. Every time I heard you cry, I would miss you even more. I would want to touch your face, to pick you up into my arms and hold you against me. How is it even possible that I did not love you? But you never gave me any chances, Xiao-Xiao. You’re a girl who is so good with words, and you’re also so good at saying words that hurt. No matter how calm I was, one sentence from you could stab me in the place that hurt most. Every time I hung up the phone, I would hate myself; why couldn’t I just say some nice words to make you feel better? What kind of dating relationship was this? We couldn’t see each other. We couldn’t touch each other. I made you wait all alone for me in Beijing, but I couldn’t even say a few words that would make you happy! Why would you want to have a man like me? What use was I?!

These are things from more than ten years ago. Bringing them back up now seems like I’m sweet-talking after I got an easy out, doesn’t it?

But all these years, I didn’t even really dare think about you. You’re too wonderful. If I thought about you, my whole heart would hurt. I was afraid of hearing news about you, afraid that you had already married someone, and if it was someone I knew, I’m guessing I wouldn’t have the courage to ever return to Beijing again in my entire life. Xiao-Xiao, I don’t know if you’ve fallen in love with anyone else over these years. I never did. And that’s why I’m scared that you can’t understand my feelings, those feelings where just hearing your name makes my heart ache. When we were together, I did not speak much, and this time when we saw each other, my words were few, too. But not talking a lot doesn’t mean that you’re not in my heart. How great a weight do you hold in my heart? If brothers and friends are my hands and feet[1], then you are my heart.

<>Your support by reading this story only at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, the actual site of posting, would be greatly and sincerely appreciated. Thank you.

As I write to this point, I suddenly feel that I’m actually quite shameless.

You coming here to the KTV to find me was something I truly had not expected, and I was completely stunned.

But once you left, I regretted it. Good thing I did go out to look for you. That glance that you gave me from inside the car was like a searing hook that burned my heart. Your eyes were red, did you know? My eyes were red, too; did you see? If I didn’t have all these brothers who are leaving tomorrow and if your friend hadn’t been there, I would definitely have opened your car door, pulled you into my arms, and carried you out.

<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com.com only 

Xiao-Xiao, it’s been eleven years, eleven years in which I haven’t touched your hand, haven’t held you in my arms. The last time you were in my arms was downstairs of that little hotel, beside the flowerbed. If I had known that that would be the last time, I would not have let go. I would have held you until the sky grew dark. Now, as I sit here beside the door, with Inner Mongolia’s wind blowing on me, I can still remember how that day, by the flowerbed, Beijing’s sandstorm and blowing grit made our faces really dirty. But the girl I loved was in my embrace, letting me hold her and kiss her. Xiao-Xiao, I once thought that that would be the last time we would ever see each other. I never thought that there would also be that time during the 2008 Olympics and also did not expect that we would run into each other again at the gas station. Even more so, I did not expect that you would come to Inner Mongolia to find me.

After tonight, I am certain that your reason for coming to Inner Mongolia was to find me.

I cannot say anything, though, because I am not like you, with a successful career already. I’m changing career paths, I don’t have a job yet, my future is uncertain, and there’s even someone back home with whom I have a marriage engagement. I’m actually scared that, running into you again now, I will end up hampering you and your life. Back when I was in my teens, I had already made you cry. I’m in my thirties now, and if I make you cry again, my heart really won’t be able to rest, even when I die.

<>Please support this translation by only reading it at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, its actual site of posting. This would be greatly appreciated by the translator.

Someone over there is throwing up from drinking too much. I’m going to go deal with it first.

<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com.com only 

Back now.

Took care of things for more than half an hour. When I was beside the sink, I thought carefully again over the things between us.

Back then, you said I’m handsome and you liked my face. Just now beside the sink, I took a look in the mirror. I’m a little darker, skin’s a little rougher, but overall my appearance hasn’t really changed. I’m going to shamelessly summarize in a sentence: the thing you liked is still there. When you were here this time, there were several instances where you just stared at me, looking like you wanted to cry but wouldn’t let yourself, and I could tell that I still dwell in your heart. You still dwell in my heart, too.

Over these years, other than my gun, there has been no one who has slept with me or caused me to think about her day and night. I’ve even wanted to make you have regrets. Every time I’m on assignment, I imagine that I’ll lose my life but before I die I must instruct one of my brothers to bring a last word to you. Gui Xiao, if I, the man that I am, were to become ashes, then even in those ashes would there be your name. I know that people live out their entire life and then that’s it; there isn’t a next life. I don’t want to forget, and I don’t want you to forget me. These are things that I considered only in the past. But since you’ve come seeking all the way to Inner Mongolia, since you’ve come and stood before me, then if I, Lu Yanchen, am a true man, I cannot run away anymore. I can’t see the road in front of us. I can disarm a bomb and I can fight terrorism, but I cannot predict the future. It might be really difficult. My family, my parents, they all make everything so difficult for me. But as long as their strong-arming doesn’t kill me, I will be able to be with you again.

Back when we were together, I was nineteen and you asked me, “Lu Chen, will we ever break up?” I said, “No, we won’t. Never.” Even though so many years have passed, I still believe that you and I never broke up. In my heart, you are my girl, that girl whom I kissed and held but never got to completely make mine.

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Xiao-Xiao, to Lu Chen—to me—you are my beloved, and you are also my homeland.

Back then, I said to you, “The journey of life is shadowy and hard to tread, but press on and be honed with each step down its path.”

And now I say to you, “To the south I seek my road home, while north the migratory birds fly.”

I will return to Beijing.

Xiao-Xiao, you must wait for my return.

 

Lu Chen

 

✻ ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻

 

Lu Chen,

I’m on the plane right now, flying to Beijing. Qin Xiaonan is asleep. I’m guessing that some time before the plane lands, his ears are going to hurt. This is, after all, his first time flying. There’s about another hour before the plane lands. I’ll just write, and you can just read.

Since breaking up with you, I haven’t picked up a pen again to write a letter to you.

Now, as I hold my pen, all my thoughts and feelings seem dammed up in my heart and I can’t get them out. To put it in a really cheesy way, I have thousands and thousands of words that I don’t know how to express. Lu Chen, do you get it?

All my memories of my youth are somehow connected to you. Any that don’t have anything to do with you have become hazy already. Wherever I walk in that little town, it’s like I can see you. You, when you were nineteen years old. A really tall build, very slim. And that face of yours was honestly just so good-looking. To date, you are still the most handsome man I’ve ever seen. Sometimes I’ll think, when people are young, they really should not see things that are too wonderful, for example, you. To have seen it and to have once had it—that’s the luckiest thing, and the most bothersome thing.

<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com.com only 

That arcade is gone, the space long transformed into something else. The beef-noodle shop is still there. The gas station is still there, too. I’ve always wanted to drive over to your auto repair shop for a look. Even if I were to just stop by the canal and look at it from far, that would still be nice. I still clearly remember that big main door. There’s a spot on it that I actually once picked off a piece of green paint from. Has it been repainted yet?

And also, by the canal, in that spot that’s about two hundred metres from the crossroads that will take you to Bai Village, that’s where you kissed me. Even now, more than ten years later, when I close my eyes I can still remember that feeling. Your kisses were so gentle, completely different from you as a person. Every time you finished kissing me, you didn’t like to talk, to the extent that I couldn’t even hear the sound of your breathing. Or maybe I should say, your breathing sounds completely disappeared into Beijing’s northwest wind. You would gaze intently at me, like you were melding the sight of me into your bones.

It was the same when we quarreled; you didn’t like to talk. To use a current term to describe it, you were passive-aggressive. But now that I think about it, that doesn’t seem quite right either. Every time you would stay silent until I was done saying what I wanted to say and I was out of words, and then you would say a few nice words to me. My young man, my nineteen-year-old young man, I’ve only ever seen you give in to one person—that person is me.

<>The translator would sincerely appreciate it if you would read this translation only at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, the actual site of posting. Thank you.

Lu Chen, you’re the reason I came to Inner Mongolia. No matter how many excuses I may have had, no matter how hard it was for me to set aside my pride, I just wanted to see you. Our breakup back then, even to this day, is still a thorn in my heart. That thorn pierced really deep. I don’t have the strength to pull it out, nor do I want to pull it out. You can call it guilt. You can say I’m regretting it. I had originally thought that I would just leave it there for the rest of my life, that even if it hurt when it was touched, I still wanted to keep it there.

It is evidence of the relationship we had.

Only when you have loved someone will you know what love is. It’s not complicated; it’s really simple: If you take my hand in yours, I will go with you. If you kiss me, I am your beloved. From the past to the present, Lu Chen, even though we broke up, I’ve never forgotten you, not even for one minute, one second. Even if I didn’t dare let myself think about you, you were still there, wholly and completely in my heart.

Lu Chen, I don’t know if you still love me. Lu Chen, I still want you to come back, and you and I can just date one another. You and I are already this age. You’ve already left the military, and I also have my own career. If it’s possible, I want to start over with you. I want to say to you, “Your Xiao-Xiao never fell in love with anyone else. All these years, you have been the only one in her heart.”

I’ve even thought, if one day I die, regardless of whether it is by mishap or old age, I must have someone secretly look for you or go to the place where you are buried to find you.

<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com.com only 

After writing all this down, it’s actually kind of weird, now that I think about it. It’s just the love from my youth. Why are you so deeply impressed in my memory? But this world actually doesn’t have that many “whys” to ask. You, me, him—everyone’s different. And everyone’s love is completely different.

All right, I’m not going to say any more. I need to give Xiaonan some water to drink.

This kid is really mature, isn’t he? Thank you for giving me a very good travel companion.

Let me secretly tell you, I’m going to buy a lot of things for Xiaonan so that when I return him to you, all the stuff and clothes are going to fill up your place. I’m going to make it so that whether you open your eyes or close them, you’ll see all the stuff that’s somehow connected to me, and then you will have no choice but to remember me, to remember all those past things, even the little things, that cannot be forgotten.

Lu Chen, Beijing has big sandstorms, too. I know Inner Mongolia’s importance to you. My hope is that you will come back to Beijing and stay here forever. If… what I mean is, if we really do get the chance to walk out our lives together, I’m willing to go back often to Inner Mongolia with you to walk around there.

<>Please support this translation by only reading it at its actual site of posting, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com.  Thank you very much.

Lu Chen, you must come back. This place is our hometown.

My young man, the young man who forever cannot depart from my memories.

Lu Chen, I will wait for your return.

 

Gui Xiao

<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com.com only 

[1] There is a saying, 兄弟如手足 “brothers and friends are like one’s hands and feet.” It is a simile that describes the importance of friendship and siblings, that they are so important they are like your hands and feet, and you cannot be separated from them. There is a second half to that saying: 女人如衣服 “women are like clothing.” While brothers and friends are important and are like a part of you, women should be viewed as “disposable,” where, like clothing, if they don’t fit or you do not like them, you can just change them out. However, here, Lu Yanchen is saying, if his brothers and comrades are like his hands and feet, from which he cannot be separated, Gui Xiao is like his heart, without which he cannot live.

This story was translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com only. All forms of reproduction, redistribution, or re-posting are not authorized. If you are not reading this from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, the copy is unauthorized and has been taken without consent of the translator.

 


Author’s Afterword

I have a lot of things I want to say regarding The Road Home, yet it also seems it’s not necessary for me to say anything. I actually want to laugh a bit. I’ve used this same sentence in the back of several books. With regard to the “Zhi Ci” series, I’ve always said it holds a special significance to me. Maybe it’s because there are always shadows of my life in the stories: my primary school, middle school, high school, university…

This book is really short.

It’s not as long as Together Forever or The Healing Sunshine. When I was releasing it online in installments, there were several times when I was just stuck, several times when I was so frustrated I was going to break down, several times when I could not continue. The fact that I could write to this point and bring it to a complete ending is already the limit of what I can do.

I even just felt really glad that I could finish writing the novel.

In the beginning, I would over and over look into myself and blame myself, thinking, why couldn’t I write this better? But when this book reached its conclusion, I suddenly felt a sense of release. With every book, there will be regrets, some more, some less. Over these years, what I have done has only been to write the best writing that I can at that time. With the different experiences of the years and the changing of one’s frame of mind, writing perhaps will also experience some change. But what remain unchanged are the person writing and the beliefs and convictions within the writing.

Through the words, what you read is a story, but at the same time it is also what I want to say.

When some people are chatty, they will post on their blog, post on Weibo, etc. As for me, when my chattiness kicks in, I’ll write stories, one after the other, good ones, bad ones, long ones, short ones, light ones, heavy ones. Very fortunately, I have a bunch of readers, precious, lovable readers. From 2011 to now, they have stayed with me; they are people who love more enduringly than me. They are such sweet people. Each word that they have left is a form of witness, a witness to my low points and valleys, a witness to my fumbling my way through, a witness to my frustration, and also a witness to my curiosity and risk-taking.

The Road Home is a story that I wrote in my lowest period. And it is also the story for which countless times my eyes grew hot when I opened up its file and read a little passage. I am very grateful to this book for helping me come out from that low point in my spirits.

Lu Chen, my young man. As I look back on this half a lifetime of mine, thank you.

<>Your support by reading this story only at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, the actual site of posting, would be greatly and sincerely appreciated. Thank you.

Mo Bao Fei Bao

This story was translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com only. All forms of reproduction, redistribution, or re-posting are not authorized. If you are not reading this from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, the copy is unauthorized and has been taken without consent of the translator.

 


Hoju’s Rambling:

(This also includes some thoughts I’ve had about “real life” nowadays, as I just wanted a place to set them down. Please feel free to STOP here if you don’t want to read something like that.)

 

I actually haven’t given many “additional comments” in this particular translation. This was partly because of busyness (some days I could barely make it to getting the post updated, much less adding my own two cents), partly because I wanted you all to have the full perspective of their relationship, from beginning to end, from how and why the breakup happened, to how each felt when they met again, to how they behaved around each other when they finally were together again, for the past is so very important to understanding just how they view their current relationship, why it works now, why they treasure it now.

 

When I first read this novel, there was one particular line that left me pondering: “She was very clear that without Lu Chen, she could still live her life at one hundred percent, live it to the fullest. But with him, her life undoubtedly would be even better.” I mentioned it when I introduced this novel that I like Gui Xiao, and one reason is that romantic love to her is not the be-all and end-all. However, though I agree with the quote, it actually got me thinking: how does it happen, that you live your life to the fullest, at one hundred percent, and then when someone comes into your life, it becomes better?

This actually goes both ways; the same is true for Lu Chen, too. I know kite analogies sometimes are drawn to death, but in my mind I do draw that analogy in their relationship. A kite is meant for the sky; only when it is flying high, riding the wind, is it truly doing what it is meant to do and fulfilling its purpose. Lu Yanchen is like a kite, and when he joined the military, especially when he was stationed on the borders, he found his sky. There, he found “his purpose of life as a person”; there he found “the weight of his own bones again”; there he found what he had the ability to do and what he should do.

But to truly fly well, a kite needs a string, and on the end of its string there needs to be a hand. The purpose of the hand is not to constrain the kite but to release it, to help it fly higher. And when that kite needs to—when it needs a place of rest, when it needs to be repaired or recharge so it can fly again next time—it can follow that string back to that hand. Or perhaps that hand will gently tug it back, as a reminder that it should have a rest. Gui Xiao is that hand who holds his string. Lu Chen belongs in the military; Gui Xiao knows this in her heart, that “such a man’s blood was flaming hot, and his heart was loyal to his mother country. If you cooled his blood and took away his heart, he would not be himself anymore.” And so she told him, “If you told me to be in this line of work, I’m guessing I wouldn’t be able to do it. I’m not psychologically strong. […] But if you go and do it, I have no problems with it.” These lines are so, so significant in their relationship because she is releasing him and sending him into his job with her blessing, and also accepting everything that goes with it—that is so empowering! Without Gui Xiao, Lu Chen would still fly in his sky of Inner Mongolia, still fulfill his purpose in life; he would live his life to one hundred percent. But with Gui Xiao, Lu Chen will fly higher, will feel even more secure and fulfilled because he has the support of the one who loves him and whom he loves. His life had already had a purpose, but, as he said himself, now that he has her, he has his “heart.”

To me, “home” is less a physical place and more the feeling it gives or invokes: we feel safe there; we can rest there; we are supported there; etc. “Home is where the heart is.” That is a saying that many of us know. Beijing was never Lu Chen’s home, because he never had that sense of belonging, be it with his family or in that town. That is why “the road back” is not leading him back to the place he once resided. The road back is leading him back to his home, back to his heart, back to… Gui Xiao.

And that is why I chose not to go with the English title of the published book, “The Return,” nor the literal translation of the Chinese title, “the road/way back.” I felt “home” captured that feeling much more. And so, I settled on the title The Road Home. (You can see how a translator’s style and interpretation can impact a translation. 😉 As mentioned before, I have run this title by the author.)

 

<>This is Hoju. I post only on hui3r.wordpress.com. Please, if you’re not doing so, just read it from there. I would genuinely appreciate it.

Now, so ends another translation project for me. Thank you to everyone who has followed along, especially those who dropped a line. When this project started five months ago, I don’t think any of us expected that most of the world would almost be at a standstill and we would be isolating ourselves at home.These have been very interesting times. I hope the bi-weekly updates of this story have managed to provide you even just a little smidgeon of joy and normalcy during what may be trying times.

I’ve mentioned before that the “Zhi Ci” series (which includes, to date, Together Forever, The Healing Sunshine, and The Road Home) are, I believe, Mo Bao Fei Bao’s salute to everyday heroes. I said in my introduction to this story that this quote captures what I feel the author really is trying to convey: “There are different countries, but the same type of people can be found in all of them. Irrespective of whether they are poor or rich, their love for their motherland is their faith.” With the current global situation, though, the sentences that come immediately after that, when Lu Yanchen was recollecting why he chose his career path and does what he does despite the dangers, struck me even harder, and I believe now that they, even more so, express the author’s heart: “In the very beginning, he had wanted to become this type of person. Later, the reason was even simpler: he had the ability to do so, and he should do so.”

I know some nurses and health care workers. I’ve read stories of doctors coming out of retirement to work the front lines during this pandemic. I read a news article about a man who used to run ventilators in hospitals but had changed careers and was now in the film and production industry, but realizing there might be a need, he contacted his previous supervisor and volunteered himself back into his former profession. I suspect that many of these people have not really consciously decided they are going to do a “greater good.” They just want to do what they can. I suspect that they merely thought, they have the ability to do so, and they believe they should do so.

And to all these people, you have my sincerest gratitude, and my deepest respect.

 

 

As for my next translation project, permission was received a long time ago. It’s a very challenging one. However, I am actually much busier now than before since, with the current situation and isolating at home, I’m spending most of my days keeping my little ones happy and healthy, all the while homeschooling them as well. I spend more time teaching and preparing lesson plans than translating. (The amount of translating I accomplish per day is 25% of what it used to be.) Hence, at the absolute earliest, I won’t begin anything until the summer, if I am able to build up enough inventory. When I have figured something out, I will make an announcement about the project.

Once again, thank you, readers. If you can, please leave me a comment here so I know how you’re doing in these times. I think of my readers often. Then, when I eventually announce the next project, drop me a line there, too, again so I know how you are.

Take care of yourself. Blessing you and your family, friends, and loved ones with safety and health. Press on, everyone!

 

—Hoju

“The journey of life is shadowy and hard to tread, but press on and be honed with each step down its path.”  —The Road Home

 

Completed:
1 of 1 Prologue
43 of 43 Chapters
1 of 1 Epilogues

≪ Previous ChapterIndex |

60 thoughts on “The Road Home (归路) — Epilogue and Author’s Afterword *NOVEL COMPLETED*

  1. Thank you always. Take care and be safe.

  2. Thank you for this translation!!! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and it has been something that I’ve looked forward to in these times. There’s something very soothing in the way the words flow and the way you translated. Good luck with your little ones and thank you for taking the extra time to translate!

    • I am so happy to hear you have enjoyed this translation, in particular, during these times. Thanks for the wishes of luck. 🙂 I’m being stretched in areas I’ve never had to before, but I am appreciating this time as well. Thanks for reading!

      Take care. ❤

  3. You’ve worked hard and well. Thank you very much !

  4. Thank you, Hoju. At my end of the world, the pandemic have hit us but it’s not as bad. Of course we’re doing social distancing and quarantine but it’s not so terrible so I’m adjusting.
    My normal schedule haven’t change that much too besides now I also have to pitch in and homeschool my nephew and it’s not easy at all.
    Sending kind thoughts your way, stay safe and healthy. Looking forward to your next project.

    • I am genuinely happy to hear that you are doing well. Continue to take care. May our world recover soon.

      Haha, I know what you mean about homeschooling not being easy. Enjoy what you can. I have learned tons from teaching my little ones.

      Take care! I will see you next project. ❤

  5. Thank you for the novel. It was very touching story to read.Stay safe and healthy.

  6. Thank you for the wonderful translation! It was so beautiful to see how they always thought of each other and see that their love never faded.

    Stay safe and healthy.

  7. Thank you for your amazing work on the translation. Looking forward to your next project once you are ready to start on it. 😍

    I personally like this phrase too. “She was very clear that without Lu Chen, she could still live her life at one hundred percent, live it to the fullest. But with him, her life undoubtedly would be even better.” It’s like without love, you can still live your life the fullest and be happy but with someone you love beside you, your life will be the fullest with them accompanying you.

    Also “The journey of life is shadowy and hard to tread, but press on and be honed with each step down its path.”
    I am having a bit of a hard time at work trying to solve some issues. So I am going to keep this in mind while I work through my job. ^^

    Thank you once again and stay safe. Take care. 😊

    • I’m glad you got some little nuggets out of this. May you come out stronger from these issues, and when you look back, you can say you improved.

      Take care!

  8. Thank you Hoju, you’ve worked hard, and thank you author for another great story, stay safe everyone 🙏🙏🙏

  9. Thanks a lot Hoju..
    Yanchen and Gu Xiao ,good bye for both of you😢
    So touching story…
    Cant wait for your next translation
    💞💞💞

    • A goodbye only lasts until your next re-read. 😉

      So happy to hear that something in the story touched you!

      See you next project! Be healthy. 🙂

  10. Thank you so much for all your dedication to translating novels for us. I love your two cents and perspective. They’re always so beautifully written in the way that they explore the deeper themes and metaphors of the novels. Stay safe and healthy during this time of chaos!

  11. First and the foremost, thank you Hoju another completed translation. I don’t have good words to describe , just could only be speechless through sentence. This story actually is very simple but it is not that light hearted i enjoy it because this life is not full of fluffs, nevertheless we will do live with happiness. I am particularly love this novel as it give the male character more lay out and bare. So undoubtedly Xiao Xiao is in Guchen’s heart. As i read this I wondered too in my head what is the perfect term of their relationship and i could recalling the title “The Road Home” and indeed haha they are their each other’s sanctuary. They could fly high with their careers but there is always one peaceful place, full of innocents from youthful days too for them to return back. And yes i agree! Home is not what you address stated, what country you have resided but rather the place where your beloved live with you (whether your friends, family or your lovers). I come to understand this as i have lived several times on abroad : home is where my family is.

    Stay safe Hoju and good luck with your life. Thank you again for this poetic and wonderful translation! Thank you to introduce us to Lu Yan Chen and Gui Xiao’s story. I don’t have the innocent love like them but still could feel like i am the part of it (pros to the author despite in her lowest days she could write such wonderful story!)

    • I would say this story is neither heavy, nor light. It is realistic, a reflection of life, which has its moments of joy and moments of fear, sadness, anxieties.

      They are each one another’s “home.” Career and having one’s own identity is very important, but “home” is where you will be supported and who will support you in that identity. 🙂

      Thank you for reading! Sorry for the late reply. Hope you are well and safe. ❤

  12. Finished!! This was such a worthwhile read and I feel fortunate to have chanced upon this novel from the recent NU updates. And that was at ch43 too so if I noticed it even later I might have stumbled upon this novel way later or even never at all! 😅

    Thank you, Hoju, for choosing this book to translate from the vast CNs available and sharing its wonderful experience with us who don’t understand the original language (and with such helpful annotations and insights too!). Thank you as well for sharing with us a moment of your time doing this. Furthermore you completed it with such satisfying quality and at a regular pace! I find that commendable. I don’t know chinese but I’m confident you gave justice to author’s original words. 😭🥰 I’ll share this book and reading experience to my friends too~ ❤
    Stay healthy and happy!

    Of course, much much thanks, hugs, and praises to the talented author for this book, characters, experience, and permission to have it translated and shared here. The descriptions of the settings and emotions are so well-written, I got hit with the feels! Lol

    It's rare to have zero qualms with any of the leads lol I really love GX and LC!

    • It was fated that you should read this novel. 😉 So happy that you found your way here. Thank you for taking the time to leave such encouraging words after reading. ❤

      The author knows about her English readers and appreciates everyone’s kind words and love.

      So happy that you were touched in some ways by the words.

      Hope you are well. ❤

  13. Thank you as always :’)
    I always think your comment and translation was the best.
    I always re-read your translation and it gives me good day.

    I hope you always be healthy, happy, and the little bun will obey and love you.

    Thank you for your hard work.
    I will wait for your new work.

    • And always, thank you to you for reading.
      I am so very happy and honoured to know that reading these translations gives your day a boost. 🙂

      May you be healthy and happy as well!

  14. Thank you Hoju once again for this poetic translation. Please keep your afterword for every chapter -coming! I look forward to them 🙂

    • Haha… be careful what you ask for. If you get me talking about books or characters I love, I can go on for a long, long time. 😉 But thank you so much for reading not just the translation but what I write as well. It makes me feel less crazy, like I’m talking to myself. LOL
      Take care!

  15. I don’t know if I’m very sentimental, but when I read this epilogue and your final comment, Hoju, a lump formed in my throat and my eyes filled with water … this story was as beautiful as all the others. this series of books “Zi ci” shows you such human characters and such touching situations. Thank you very much for all your hard work, I will be waiting for your next project. Many blessings and I hope that you and your family remain safe.

    • I am sappy and sentimental, so if you want, you’ll have company. 😉
      I have many individual books that I love, but as a series, I think the “Zhi Ci” series is my favourite out of what this author has written. They are not fluffy, escapist novels, but their characters and realistic life situations are inspiring.

      Thank you so much for reading. I will see you in my next project (whenever that will be). May you remain safe and well, too!

  16. Thank you Hoju for another great translation 😍 and taking the time to do it. I really enjoyed this one. Keep safe and Healthy ~

  17. Thank you for another wonderful translation take care stay safe we will get through this and have fun reading went you come back enjoy your time with the little ones is really a precious time with them even in this pandemic we can see the good things in life and family is the most important ❤️❤️❤️ hope to see you soon on the next book !! I will keep on reading your translation again here I go again with the healing sunshine it will be my 4th time together forever my 5th lol I can stop from reading them all over again

  18. Thank you! Also, I love how eloquent and helpful your comments are. Stay sane throughout homeschooling and your work and I can’t wait to see what your next project will be. Thanks again for translating!

    • Thank you so much for the wonderful translation.

      This is the first CN novel that had me sobbing and I have both you and author to thank for.

      I especially loved your interpretation of the title “The Road Home” it does resonates to me more.

      Your kite analogy rings true as well. To be able to soar high, one must have a string to ground them from to time.

      I look forward to your next project.

  19. Thank you for another great translation Hoju.
    I really enjoy this this story….

  20. thank you for completing yet another novel for us, truly touching to the heart
    stay sane and safe!

  21. This was such a lovely ride.
    Thank you for taking us with you 💗

  22. Thanks a lot for translating such a wonderful c novel to English. That’s why we all Readers can touch a beautiful novel. Good job. Looking forward to your next translation project. Ah btw let me know what’s exactly the age difference between Lu Chen and Guai Xiao.

  23. Another beautiful ending. Thank you again for bringing Mo Bao Fei Bao into my life. I look forward to each of her books.

  24. ty ty Hoju, as always, for your beautiful translations, bringing me into the world as created by the author and the story to life. Looking forward to the next. Meantime, you stay safe with your family.

  25. What a beautiful book and a perfect ending.
    This novel was truly so beautifully written and showed such a wholesale and real approach to life. I normally don’t like reading novels, live, I wait for them to finish (as I get really curious 😅). However with this novel I think I actually liked going along the pace of a release at a time as it gave me time to really savour.
    As always, the translation was just amazing, and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing it with us! ♥️ It’s also always a pleasure reading your thoughts, you articulate them so well!
    Look forward to whatever project you take up next.
    These are definitely trying times, our entire country has been put on lockdown since 30 days now I think, no leaving the house.
    Wish you and your loved ones good health and safety in these trying times!
    Thank you and take care ♥️

  26. Thank you for translating this book.
    “She was very clear that without Lu Chen, she could still live her life at 100%, live it to the fullest. But with him, her life undoubtedly would be even better. ” I really admire Gui Xiao to be able to think like this.
    It was a beautiful trip for me. Thank you! Stay save nd healthy with your family!

  27. Hello, how can I contact you?

  28. I’m sorry for using this to post a general comment unrelated to your post. Your header is attractive and made me check out your pages and work.

  29. Thank you for translating this beautiful novel.
    We all live like Gui Xiao and Lu Chen, hoping to find the propose of life itself.

    What Gui Xiao said is the pure reality

    I’m following this site so long, sometimes I don’t have the time to check, sometimes I’m reading the books again and again, sometimes with hopeful thinking that there is a new completed book.
    I’m really happy that you all treasure it like me.
    be healthy and take good care of yourself and your Fam.
    Germany has the better end of the stick, so hoping that all of you can live your life in this situation without so much stress and depression.

  30. As aways thank you kindly for an awesome translation of an amazing novel.

  31. Thank you hoju. Thank you for translating this wonderful novel. Thank you for your hard work. Thank you so much.
    Please stay safe and healthy.

  32. Thank you Hoju for translating another one of Mo Bao Fei Bao’s books. I really admire people like Lu Chen that has the sense of responsibility and dedication to their jobs in helping people. It is not easy to do what people in the front line does and the stress and trauma they have to face every time they go to work is not something anyone can do. I feel that Mo Bao Fei Bao emphasise this point, he is doing something which he can do. Not everyone has the mental ability to face these traumas and still be relatively mentally stable. But then Gui Xiao really helps him mentally as well by having the ability to take him out of his funk (i.e. when old Shen passed away).

    When I read the bit about those silly people going into the restricted area for a joke, it really made me mad that the brainless guy kept verbally abusing the people that were going to help save his friends. We all know there are also people out there that are like that. We should be appreciative of those that are trying to help instead of abusing them.

    As for real life, I find this time interesting. In a way I am glad we are in this situation, I think it gives nature a lot of breathing space. I hear on the news that the wildlife is making a comeback. It makes one think what we humans have been doing to the planet and how much damage we have done to it. Another thing is that if we humans die out, how long will it take for the wildlife to take over again. I am glad that the pollution level has gone down, glad there are less cars on the road. But I believe that once we are out of isolation, things will recover back to their previous state, jobs, economy, the planet. It might be slower for parts i.e. economies to recover and faster for other i.e. pollution levels increasing again but we will all find our normal again.

    Take care everyone and thanks again Hoju. Looking forward to your next project!

  33. Hi Hoju! I read this chapter when it came out but I wanted to comeback and thank you for the translations 🙂

    Also, it looks like leads have been cast for a God’s Left Hand/Fish Playing While Trapped in a Secret Room so we’ll get Ai Qing and DT’s story as a drama next year!

    https://mydramalist.com/58373-my-dear

  34. Thank you Hoju.. I haven’t commented much.. but I have read all of ur translations here.. although I do wait for you to finish translation…
    I would like to say that the way your words flow.. I m able to picturize the story and it keeps me so engrossed…
    Thanks for providing us such beautiful works in a beautiful way.. I also do look forward for your comments..
    I would say u r an awesome story teller🤩

    I would also like to wish u ,ur little ones and ur family good health and wellness.. may u all sail through tough times physically and mentally strong..
    Take care and bless u..
    Will be waiting for your next translation 😍😍😍

  35. Thank you very much for your dedication to translate this novel .Take care …

  36. You bring to us the best of the stories through the other side of the wall, wall of barriers of language. Thank You.

  37. Thank you..very touching. Love this

  38. Thank you hoju.
    Stay safe and healthy

  39. Thank you and stay healthy, physically and mentally ♥️

  40. This is a bit awkward for me to leave a comment as I have always been a silent reader. I have read most of your translated novels and this one is my personal favourite so much so that I had to comment on it. I want to personally thank you. Thank you so so much for translating this gem! Your words, phrases and transition is absolutely amazing. The raw emotions and the atmosphere cultivated between both leads has truly left me speechless. This book took me on such an emotional roller coaster and even now I still reminiscing most of the plot. I am a bit sad to part with it but best bet that I’ll be re-reading this quite often in the near future! With that being said, thank you so much hoju and stay safe ❤️

  41. Thank you Hoju! I haven’t had a chance to read this translation until earlier this week. It’s such a satisfying read and recognition to those who serve their country especially during these strange times. Your translations are always so detailed and I really respect your desire to translate to the best according to the author’s original intent and style of writing. Also thankful it’s a happy ending even though realistically these stories can easily go toward tragedy. Life in itself is already hard, so being able to enjoy and look forward to these happy moments is definitely a blessing. Thank you for bringing this translation to us and letting us experience another wonderful novel by Mo Bao Fei Bao. Wishing you good health during this time. Stay safe and hope the transition back to the ‘new normal’ will not be too hard for you and the family.

  42. Thank you soo much hoju for your hard work❤️
    Its too emotional 😢

  43. I have already read it twice. The feeling it gives me is that of my own love.
    Lu Chen is a man of few words and therefore the letter leaves a huge impact on one’s heart. He truly does love Gui Xiao alot. Gui Xiao gives him the feeling of home which he has yearned for all his life.
    I wish they would have read each other’s letters. It was so painful for both of them to be apart for eleven years.
    This story, characters remind me of my own story atleast in the sense of love and longing but mine didn’t have a happy end. Therefore, I’m very happy this story to end like this. A very peaceful ending.

    Thanku Hoju you did an excellent job. I know it’s too late to comment. I hope to enjoy again some other translated novels.
    Thanks again. Good Luck!

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