“Death of the Last Arcadian Village”
A Novel by Sun Wei
This novel is based on the author’s anthropological interest. For the sake of this novel, Sun Wei spent several years living in remote areas in China to learn the local rituals, customs, religions and to collect epics, myths and legends.
Bored with life in the big city, An Ning packed up her stuff and came to a legendary remote village at “the edge of world” after a long and hard journey. There she witnessed a tragedy of how the whole Arcadian Village, known as the last “peach blossom land” in China, was completely wiped out in just one winter season.
Among the local residents braving the sudden devastation, she saw an epitome of the human world – the frustrated old King Jiang Long, the lovesick Cabbie Ah-Man, the Insane He who wore a suit looking for leftovers on the ground, Boss Jin who was the secret patron of the Insane, the immortal Sixth Aunt whose name had been actually forgotten by the God, the beautiful Maid Du Juan who matured overnight, the young Monk Gaily who was born with the ability to read other people’s minds and the old Priest Antony who lived in a comfortable illusion of paradise.
The eight characters represent the powers, the merchants, the employees, the mad, the children and the religious practitioners respectively, whose legendary stories help interpret the major desires and obsessions of human beings.
It wasn’t the flood, which came on the expected date though nobody believed it would have, that devastated the “peach blossom land”. Ever since the village was open to tourism, the simple happiness and the peace of the village had long been fraying around the edges before the doomsday. The village recorded in the Death of the Last Arcadian Village is real. At a time of globalization and economic integration, the withering of the village is that of many of the Chinese villages in the remote areas in microcosm.
By exploring the exit from ‘malaise’, the author believes that real wisdom and eternal elegance exist in the cultures of ancient times when people had good relationships with their souls and the generosity of Mother Nature rather than suffering from the wealth they have built.