Short story review: ‘Galloping Horses’ by Xu Zechen

Story Title: ‘Galloping Horses’ by Xu Zechen; translated by Helen Wang.
Source: Guardian Books (available online as part of the Guardian’s ‘China stories’ series)
Date Read: 12th April 2012
Briefly: Left in charge of watching over his father’s melon patch and fishponds, Beansprout (aka Soybean) dreams of riding the jujube-red horses of Hongqi and Dongliang, which speed past him on the dirt road every day, as they race cars. Beansprout’s dream becomes closer to reality when he slowly befriends another boy who also happens to pass by his melon shack every day, on the way to grazing his buffalo.
Afterthoughts: I love it when a story gives me back much more than the effort I’ve to put into reading it, and this is one such story. Not only is it culturally rich and diverse, it’s also beautifully written and translated. The story kind of reads like a parable, but there’s no real moral lesson to be learned, except for one maybe – never desert your post. Highly recommended.

Rating: ★★★★☆

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books)

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