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Book One 3
3Sensei, I rushed through the story of my great-uncle so I could take my time telling Gugu’s story.
She was born on 13 June 1937, the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, which is Duanyang, the dayof the Dragon Boat Festival. They called her Duanyang until she started school, and was then calledWan Xin (Heart). Great-Uncle named her, showing respect for local tradition while investing hername with a message. Not long after Great-Uncle’s death, his mother died of natural causes inChengdu. Members of the Shandong military district launched a large-scale rescue mission to freeGugu and her mother from their captivity2, and once they were in the liberated3 zone, Gugu wasenrolled in the Resistance elementary school and her mother was sent to a factory to make soles forcloth shoes. After Liberation, the future for descendants of martyrs4 like Gugu could not have beenbrighter, but her mother hated the idea of leaving her hometown and Gugu hated the idea of leavingher. Officials at the county level asked her what she would like to do; when she said she’d like tocarry on her father’s work, she was admitted to the prefectural medical school. She graduated at theage of sixteen and was assigned to the township health centre, where she undertook a training coursefor modern birthing methods organised by the county health bureau. Gugu forged an unbreakablebond with the sacred work of obstetrics. According to her calculations, from the fourth day of thefourth month of 1953, when she attended her first birth, till the spring of last year, she deliveredaround ten thousand babies, counting two as one when working with someone else. She told you thisin person. I assumed she’d inflated5 the number somewhat, but there had to have been seven or eightthousand at least. She had seven interns6, one of whom she called ‘Little Lion’, a young womanwhose hair was never combed, who had a flat nose, a square mouth, and a face full of zits. She was sodevoted to Gugu that if she’d been told to kill someone, she’d have picked up a knife and done itwithout asking why.
We’ve already seen how, in the spring of 1953, women in my hometown resisted modern birthingmethods, including the old midwives, who spread all sorts of rumours7. Gugu was only seventeen atthe time, but with her unconventional experience and privileged background, she was already aninfluential young woman who was held in high esteem8. Admittedly, her good looks played a role inthat. Putting aside head, face, nose, and eyes, her teeth alone are worth mention. Our water was soheavily fluoridated that everyone, young and old, had black teeth. But after spending her youth in theliberated areas of eastern Shandong and drinking spring water, not to mention being taught to brushher teeth by Eighth Route soldiers, Gugu’s teeth were spared of that noxious9 effect. Hers were theenvy of all, especially the girls.
Chen Bi was the first baby Gugu delivered, a fact that caused her a lifetime of regret – her firstought to have been the son or daughter of a revolutionary, not a landlord’s mongrel. But at the time,the necessity to start something new and do away with old birthing methods would not allow her totake such issues into consideration.
When Gugu learned that Ailian had gone into labour, she jumped on her bicycle (a rarity at thetime), a medical kit10 over her back, and rushed home, covering the ten li from the health centre to ourvillage in ten minutes. Village secretary Yuan Lian’s wife, who was washing clothes on the bank ofthe Jiao River, watched her race across the narrow stone bridge, so scaring a puppy playing on thebridge it fell into the river.
Medical kit in hand, Gugu burst into Ailian’s room, only to find that the old midwife Tian Guihuawas already attending to her. The old woman, with her pointed11 mouth and sunken cheeks, was in hersixties; by now, thankfully, this torchbearer for the obstructionists is feeding worms. When Guguentered, Tian was straddling Ailian and pushing down on her bulging12 belly13 with all her might. AsTian was suffering from chronic14 bronchitis, the sound of her laboured breathing merged15 with the hog-butchering screams of her pregnant victim, producing a tragically16 heroic aura in the room. Chen E,the landlord, was in the corner on his knees, banging his head in supplication17 on the floor, over andover, and mumbling18 incoherently.
As a frequent visitor to Chen’s house, I knew its floor plan well. Two cramped19 rooms with hangingeaves faced west. The first thing you encountered after entering was the stove, which was backed bya two-foot-high wall. The sleeping platform, the kang, was behind that low wall. So Gugu witnessedthe scene the moment she walked in, and was livid with anger; in her own words, ‘the flames werethirty feet high’. She dropped her medical kit, ran up and, with her left hand on the old woman’s leftarm and her right hand on her right shoulder, yanked her off the kang. The old woman’s head bangedinto the bedpan, splashing its contents all over the floor and filling the air with the smell of urine.
Dark blood oozed20 from a head wound. It wasn’t a serious injury, but you wouldn’t have known thatby her shrieks21 of agony. Most people, hearing such pitiful wails22, would go dumb from fright. Butthey had no effect on Gugu, who had seen a thing or two in her life.
She took her place next to the kang, donned rubber gloves, and spoke23 sternly to Ailian: No morecrying, no more screaming, since neither of those is helpful. Listen to me if you want to come out ofthis alive. Do exactly as I say. That had the desired effect on Ailian, who knew all about Gugu’sbackground and her uncommon24 experiences. You are a little old to be having a child, Gugu told her,and the position of the foetus is wrong. Babies are supposed to come out headfirst, but yours wants tocome out hand first, his head still inside. In years to come, Gugu often teased Chen Bi by saying hewanted to emerge with an outstretched hand to ask the world for something. To which, Chen alwaysremarked: I was begging for food.
It was her first case, and yet she was calm and composed, not a hint of panic, someone whosetechniques produced better than expected results. Gugu was a natural genius as a woman’s doctor.
What her instincts told her, her hands put into practice. Women who witnessed her at work or thosewho were her patients absolutely revered25 and admired her. My mother said to me more than once:
Your aunt’s hands are different than other people’s. Most people’s hands are cold some of the time,hot at other times, sometimes stiff, and sometimes sweaty. But your aunt’s hands were always thesame, whether in the cold of winter or the heat of summer: soft and cool, not spongy soft, morelike?.?.?.?How can I describe them? My educated elder brother said: Like a needle tucked into cotton,supple yet firm? That’s it, Mother said. And the coolness of her hands was never icy. I can’t find thewords?.?.?.?Again my brother came to her aid: Can we call it outer heat and inner coolness, like coolsilk or fine jade26? That’s it, Mother said, that’s it exactly. All she had to do was lay her hands on a sickperson for that illness to retreat at least 70 per cent. Gugu came close to being deified by the womenin our township.
Ailian was a lucky woman; she’d been a smart one to begin with. As soon as Gugu’s handstouched her belly, she felt a sort of vigour27. She often told people she met afterward28 that Gugu had thebearing of a general. Compared to her, the woman lying on the floor in a puddle29 of piss was a clown.
In the inspiration and power derived30 from her scientific approach and dignified31 demeanour, Ailiansaw brightness and gained the courage to deliver; her gut-wrenching screams and pain were greatlyreduced. She stopped crying and did as Gugu said, working in concert with Gugu’s movements tobring Chen Bi safely into the world.
Chen wasn’t breathing when he emerged, so Gugu held him by his feet and smacked32 him on theback and chest until he produced a kitten-like cry. How is it the little imp33 has such a big nose? Guguwondered. He looks like one of those Americans. She was as happy as she could be, like an artisanwho has just completed the first project. And a smile spread across the face of the exhausted34 mother.
Though Gugu was imbued35 with strong class-consciousness, class and class struggle were completelyforgotten as she helped the infant emerge from the birth canal. Her elation36 constituted the pureessence of happiness.
When he heard that it was a boy, Chen E stood up. Feeling helpless, he threaded his way back andforth in the narrow space behind the stove, strings37 of tears dripping like honey from his dried-upeyes. He was incapable38 of describing the joy he felt. (There were terms like male heir and patriarchalclan, but from a man like him they would have been offensive.)The boy has such a big nose, Gugu said, why don’t you just call him Chen Bi – Nose Chen?
She was just teasing, but Chen E nodded and bowed to her, taking her words as if they constitutedan imperial edict: I thank Gugu for favouring him with a name, he said. Nose it is. We’ll call himChen Bi.
Swathed in Chen E’s insistent39 thanks and Ailian’s tears of joy, Gugu packed up her kit and was onher way out when she spotted40 Tian Guihua sitting in the corner against the wall, the broken bedpanon the floor in front of her. She actually appeared to be asleep. Gugu could not say when thistransformation had taken place or when her hair-raising shrieks had stopped. She thought the womanmight be dead, but light in her cat-like eyes proved her wrong. Waves of anger surged through hermind. What are you hanging around for? she said. I did half the work, the woman said, and you didthe other half. By rights I should get one towel and five eggs, but my head is injured, thanks to you.
For the sake of your mother, I won’t report you to the authorities, but you have to give me your towelto wrap the wound and your five eggs for my health.
That reminded Gugu that the old midwives always demanded a fee, and the thought disgusted her.
Shame on you! she said through clenched41 teeth. Shame, shame on you! What do you mean, you didhalf the work? If I’d let you finish, there would be two corpses42 lying on that kang. You witch, youthink a woman’s birth canal is like a hen’s rectum, that all you have to do is squeeze for an egg topop out. You call that a delivery? What it is is murder. And you want to report me? Gugu aimed aflying kick on the woman’s chin. You want a towel? And eggs? Another kick followed, this one onthe woman’s backside. She then grabbed her medical kit with one hand and the tight bun of hair onthe woman’s head and dragged her out into the yard. Chen E followed them out, wanting to makepeace. Get your arse back in there! Gugu demanded angrily, and take care of your wife!
It was, Gugu told me later, the first time she’d ever struck anyone. She’d never thought herselfcapable of such a thing. But she kicked her again. The old woman rolled over and sat up, poundingthe ground with both hands. Help! she shrieked43. She’s trying to kill me?.?.?.?Wan1 Liufu’s banditdaughter is trying to kill me!
Evening is when that occurred. The setting sun, a colourful western sky, light breezes. Most of thevillagers were taking their dinner out in the streets, rice bowls in hand, and they came trotting44 over tosee what all the commotion45 was about. The village Party secretary, Yuan Lian, and BrigadeCommander Lü Ya (Tooth) was among them. Tian Guihua was a distant aunt of Lü Ya, close enoughto be considered family. Wan Xin, he said to Gugu, aren’t you ashamed to hit an old woman?
Who did Lü Ya think he was, scolding me like that, a creep who battered46 his wife to make hercrawl around the house?
Old woman? Gugu said. Old witch is more like it. A demon47! Ask her what she was doing here.
I don’t know how many people have died at your hand, but if a woman like me had a gun, she’dhappily put a bullet in your head. Gugu pointed her finger at the old woman’s head. She was all ofseventeen at the time. The crowd tittered at her use of ‘a woman like me’.
There was more Lü Ya wanted to say in Tian Guihua’s defence, but he was cut short by YuanLian: Doctor Wan did nothing wrong. Old witches who play games with people’s lives deserve to beseverely punished. Tian Guihua, stop the phoney act. You got off lightly with only being struck. Youought to be sent to prison! From now on, Doctor Wan is to be called when any woman is about tohave a child. Tian Guihua, if you ever again show up to do what you do, I’ll rip those dog fingersright off your hands!
Gugu said that Yuan Lian was not an educated man, but he could see which way tides ran andknew the importance of justice. He was a good cadre.


1 wan np5yT     
(wide area network)广域网
  • The shared connection can be an Ethernet,wireless LAN,or wireless WAN connection.提供共享的网络连接可以是以太网、无线局域网或无线广域网。
2 captivity qrJzv     
  • A zoo is a place where live animals are kept in captivity for the public to see.动物园是圈养动物以供公众观看的场所。
  • He was held in captivity for three years.他被囚禁叁年。
3 liberated YpRzMi     
  • The city was liberated by the advancing army. 军队向前挺进,解放了那座城市。
  • The heat brings about a chemical reaction, and oxygen is liberated. 热量引起化学反应,释放出氧气。
4 martyrs d8bbee63cb93081c5677dc671dc968fc     
n.martyr的复数形式;烈士( martyr的名词复数 );殉道者;殉教者;乞怜者(向人诉苦以博取同情)
  • the early Christian martyrs 早期基督教殉道者
  • They paid their respects to the revolutionary martyrs. 他们向革命烈士致哀。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
5 inflated Mqwz2K     
adj.(价格)飞涨的;(通货)膨胀的;言过其实的;充了气的v.使充气(于轮胎、气球等)( inflate的过去式和过去分词 );(使)膨胀;(使)通货膨胀;物价上涨
  • He has an inflated sense of his own importance. 他自视过高。
  • They all seem to take an inflated view of their collective identity. 他们对自己的集体身份似乎都持有一种夸大的看法。 来自《简明英汉词典》
6 interns b9fd94f8bf381b49802b6b686cb9d5ac     
n.住院实习医生( intern的名词复数 )v.拘留,关押( intern的第三人称单数 )
  • Our interns also greet our guests when they arrive in our studios. 我们的实习生也会在嘉宾抵达演播室的时候向他们致以问候。 来自超越目标英语 第4册
  • The interns work alongside experienced civil engineers and receive training in the different work sectors. 实习生陪同有经验的国内工程师工作,接受不同工作部门的相关培训。 来自超越目标英语 第4册
7 rumours ba6e2decd2e28dec9a80f28cb99e131d     
n.传闻( rumour的名词复数 );风闻;谣言;谣传
  • The rumours were completely baseless. 那些谣传毫无根据。
  • Rumours of job losses were later confirmed. 裁员的传言后来得到了证实。
8 esteem imhyZ     
  • I did not esteem him to be worthy of trust.我认为他不值得信赖。
  • The veteran worker ranks high in public love and esteem.那位老工人深受大伙的爱戴。
9 noxious zHOxB     
  • Heavy industry pollutes our rivers with noxious chemicals.重工业产生的有毒化学品会污染我们的河流。
  • Many household products give off noxious fumes.很多家用产品散发有害气体。
10 kit D2Rxp     
  • The kit consisted of about twenty cosmetic items.整套工具包括大约20种化妆用品。
  • The captain wants to inspect your kit.船长想检查你的行装。
11 pointed Il8zB4     
  • He gave me a very sharp pointed pencil.他给我一支削得非常尖的铅笔。
  • She wished to show Mrs.John Dashwood by this pointed invitation to her brother.她想通过对达茨伍德夫人提出直截了当的邀请向她的哥哥表示出来。
12 bulging daa6dc27701a595ab18024cbb7b30c25     
膨胀; 凸出(部); 打气; 折皱
  • Her pockets were bulging with presents. 她的口袋里装满了礼物。
  • Conscious of the bulging red folder, Nim told her,"Ask if it's important." 尼姆想到那个鼓鼓囊囊的红色文件夹便告诉她:“问问是不是重要的事。”
13 belly QyKzLi     
  • The boss has a large belly.老板大腹便便。
  • His eyes are bigger than his belly.他眼馋肚饱。
14 chronic BO9zl     
  • Famine differs from chronic malnutrition.饥荒不同于慢性营养不良。
  • Chronic poisoning may lead to death from inanition.慢性中毒也可能由虚弱导致死亡。
15 merged d33b2d33223e1272c8bbe02180876e6f     
(使)混合( merge的过去式和过去分词 ); 相融; 融入; 渐渐消失在某物中
  • Turf wars are inevitable when two departments are merged. 两个部门合并时总免不了争争权限。
  • The small shops were merged into a large market. 那些小商店合并成为一个大商场。
16 tragically 7bc94e82e1e513c38f4a9dea83dc8681     
adv. 悲剧地,悲惨地
  • Their daughter was tragically killed in a road accident. 他们的女儿不幸死于车祸。
  • Her father died tragically in a car crash. 她父亲在一场车祸中惨死。
17 supplication supplication     
  • She knelt in supplication. 她跪地祷求。
  • The supplication touched him home. 这个请求深深地打动了他。 来自英汉文学 - 双城记
18 mumbling 13967dedfacea8f03be56b40a8995491     
含糊地说某事,叽咕,咕哝( mumble的现在分词 )
  • I could hear him mumbling to himself. 我听到他在喃喃自语。
  • He was still mumbling something about hospitals at the end of the party when he slipped on a piece of ice and broke his left leg. 宴会结束时,他仍在咕哝着医院里的事。说着说着,他在一块冰上滑倒,跌断了左腿。
19 cramped 287c2bb79385d19c466ec2df5b5ce970     
  • The house was terribly small and cramped, but the agent described it as a bijou residence. 房子十分狭小拥挤,但经纪人却把它说成是小巧别致的住宅。
  • working in cramped conditions 在拥挤的环境里工作
20 oozed d11de42af8e0bb132bd10042ebefdf99     
v.(浓液等)慢慢地冒出,渗出( ooze的过去式和过去分词 );使(液体)缓缓流出;(浓液)渗出,慢慢流出
  • Blood oozed out of the wound. 血从伤口慢慢流出来。
  • Mud oozed from underground. 泥浆从地下冒出来。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
21 shrieks e693aa502222a9efbbd76f900b6f5114     
n.尖叫声( shriek的名词复数 )v.尖叫( shriek的第三人称单数 )
  • shrieks of fiendish laughter 恶魔般的尖笑声
  • For years, from newspapers, broadcasts, the stages and at meetings, we had heard nothing but grandiloquent rhetoric delivered with shouts and shrieks that deafened the ears. 多少年来, 报纸上, 广播里, 舞台上, 会场上的声嘶力竭,装腔做态的高调搞得我们震耳欲聋。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
22 wails 6fc385b881232f68e3c2bd9685a7fcc7     
痛哭,哭声( wail的名词复数 )
  • The child burst into loud wails. 那个孩子突然大哭起来。
  • Through this glaciated silence the white wails of the apartment fixed arbitrary planes. 在这冰封似的沉寂中,公寓的白色墙壁构成了一个个任意的平面。 来自英汉非文学 - 科幻
23 spoke XryyC     
n.(车轮的)辐条;轮辐;破坏某人的计划;阻挠某人的行动 v.讲,谈(speak的过去式);说;演说;从某种观点来说
  • They sourced the spoke nuts from our company.他们的轮辐螺帽是从我们公司获得的。
  • The spokes of a wheel are the bars that connect the outer ring to the centre.辐条是轮子上连接外圈与中心的条棒。
24 uncommon AlPwO     
  • Such attitudes were not at all uncommon thirty years ago.这些看法在30年前很常见。
  • Phil has uncommon intelligence.菲尔智力超群。
25 revered 1d4a411490949024694bf40d95a0d35f     
v.崇敬,尊崇,敬畏( revere的过去式和过去分词 )
  • A number of institutions revered and respected in earlier times have become Aunt Sally for the present generation. 一些早年受到尊崇的惯例,现在已经成了这代人嘲弄的对象了。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The Chinese revered corn as a gift from heaven. 中国人将谷物奉为上天的恩赐。 来自辞典例句
26 jade i3Pxo     
  • The statue was carved out of jade.这座塑像是玉雕的。
  • He presented us with a couple of jade lions.他送给我们一对玉狮子。
27 vigour lhtwr     
  • She is full of vigour and enthusiasm.她有热情,有朝气。
  • At 40,he was in his prime and full of vigour.他40岁时正年富力强。
28 afterward fK6y3     
  • Let's go to the theatre first and eat afterward. 让我们先去看戏,然后吃饭。
  • Afterward,the boy became a very famous artist.后来,这男孩成为一个很有名的艺术家。
29 puddle otNy9     
  • The boy hopped the mud puddle and ran down the walk.这个男孩跳过泥坑,沿着人行道跑了。
  • She tripped over and landed in a puddle.她绊了一下,跌在水坑里。
30 derived 6cddb7353e699051a384686b6b3ff1e2     
vi.起源;由来;衍生;导出v.得到( derive的过去式和过去分词 );(从…中)得到获得;源于;(从…中)提取
  • Many English words are derived from Latin and Greek. 英语很多词源出于拉丁文和希腊文。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • He derived his enthusiasm for literature from his father. 他对文学的爱好是受他父亲的影响。 来自《简明英汉词典》
31 dignified NuZzfb     
  • Throughout his trial he maintained a dignified silence. 在整个审讯过程中,他始终沉默以保持尊严。
  • He always strikes such a dignified pose before his girlfriend. 他总是在女友面前摆出这种庄严的姿态。
32 smacked bb7869468e11f63a1506d730c1d2219e     
拍,打,掴( smack的过去式和过去分词 )
  • He smacked his lips but did not utter a word. 他吧嗒两下嘴,一声也不言语。
  • She smacked a child's bottom. 她打孩子的屁股。
33 imp Qy3yY     
  • What a little imp you are!你这个淘气包!
  • There's a little imp always running with him.他总有一个小鬼跟着。
34 exhausted 7taz4r     
  • It was a long haul home and we arrived exhausted.搬运回家的这段路程特别长,到家时我们已筋疲力尽。
  • Jenny was exhausted by the hustle of city life.珍妮被城市生活的忙乱弄得筋疲力尽。
35 imbued 0556a3f182102618d8c04584f11a6872     
v.使(某人/某事)充满或激起(感情等)( imbue的过去式和过去分词 );使充满;灌输;激发(强烈感情或品质等)
  • Her voice was imbued with an unusual seriousness. 她的声音里充满着一种不寻常的严肃语气。
  • These cultivated individuals have been imbued with a sense of social purpose. 这些有教养的人满怀着社会责任感。 来自《简明英汉词典》
36 elation 0q9x7     
  • She showed her elation at having finally achieved her ambition.最终实现了抱负,她显得十分高兴。
  • His supporters have reacted to the news with elation.他的支持者听到那条消息后兴高采烈。
37 strings nh0zBe     
  • He sat on the bed,idly plucking the strings of his guitar.他坐在床上,随意地拨着吉他的弦。
  • She swept her fingers over the strings of the harp.她用手指划过竖琴的琴弦。
38 incapable w9ZxK     
  • He would be incapable of committing such a cruel deed.他不会做出这么残忍的事。
  • Computers are incapable of creative thought.计算机不会创造性地思维。
39 insistent s6ZxC     
  • There was an insistent knock on my door.我听到一阵急促的敲门声。
  • He is most insistent on this point.他在这点上很坚持。
40 spotted 7FEyj     
  • The milkman selected the spotted cows,from among a herd of two hundred.牛奶商从一群200头牛中选出有斑点的牛。
  • Sam's shop stocks short spotted socks.山姆的商店屯积了有斑点的短袜。
41 clenched clenched     
v.紧握,抓紧,咬紧( clench的过去式和过去分词 )
  • He clenched his fists in anger. 他愤怒地攥紧了拳头。
  • She clenched her hands in her lap to hide their trembling. 她攥紧双手放在腿上,以掩饰其颤抖。 来自《简明英汉词典》
42 corpses 2e7a6f2b001045a825912208632941b2     
n.死尸,尸体( corpse的名词复数 )
  • The living soldiers put corpses together and burned them. 活着的战士把尸体放在一起烧了。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Overhead, grayish-white clouds covered the sky, piling up heavily like decaying corpses. 天上罩满了灰白的薄云,同腐烂的尸体似的沉沉的盖在那里。 来自汉英文学 - 中国现代小说
43 shrieked dc12d0d25b0f5d980f524cd70c1de8fe     
v.尖叫( shriek的过去式和过去分词 )
  • She shrieked in fright. 她吓得尖叫起来。
  • Li Mei-t'ing gave a shout, and Lu Tzu-hsiao shrieked, "Tell what? 李梅亭大声叫,陆子潇尖声叫:“告诉什么? 来自汉英文学 - 围城
44 trotting cbfe4f2086fbf0d567ffdf135320f26a     
小跑,急走( trot的现在分词 ); 匆匆忙忙地走
  • The riders came trotting down the lane. 这骑手骑着马在小路上慢跑。
  • Alan took the reins and the small horse started trotting. 艾伦抓住缰绳,小马开始慢跑起来。
45 commotion 3X3yo     
  • They made a commotion by yelling at each other in the theatre.他们在剧院里相互争吵,引起了一阵骚乱。
  • Suddenly the whole street was in commotion.突然间,整条街道变得一片混乱。
46 battered NyezEM     
  • He drove up in a battered old car.他开着一辆又老又破的旧车。
  • The world was brutally battered but it survived.这个世界遭受了惨重的创伤,但它还是生存下来了。
47 demon Wmdyj     
  • The demon of greed ruined the miser's happiness.贪得无厌的恶习毁掉了那个守财奴的幸福。
  • He has been possessed by the demon of disease for years.他多年来病魔缠身。


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