| Quote #1
Yet he abandoned all to make a book and a labyrinth. He gave up all the pleasures of oppression, justice, of a well-stocked bed, of banquets, and even of erudition, and shut himself up in the Pavilion of the Limpid Sun for thirteen years. (36)
Ah, the life of the writer. Everyone knows you have to suffer for your art.
| Quote #2
At his death, his heirs found only a mess of manuscripts. The family... wished to consign them to the fire, but the executor of the estate – a Taoist or a Buddhist monk – insisted on their publication. (36)
What happens to literature after the author has died? Does it belong out in the world, for anyone to read, or do certain people – like family members – have the right to control it?
| Quote #3
"Such a publication was madness. The book is a shapeless mass of contradictory rough drafts... the hero dies in the third chapter, while in the fourth he is alive." (37)
If you tried reading one of those old Choose Your Own Adventure novels from cover to cover, it wouldn't make a lot of sense. You can understand how Yu Tsun might have been confused – his great-grandfather's novel probably didn't have handy instructions printed clearly at the bottom of each page.