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The Field of Life and Death

The Field of Life and Death is a modern Chinese novel written by Xiao Hong, first published in complete form in 1935. Along with Tales of Hulan River, it is regarded as one of Xiao Hong's most successful works. Set in a village near the city of Harbin, the novel examines the difficulties of peasant life during the 1920s and early 1930s, in particular the suffering of women; the latter part of the novel deals with life under occupation after the Japanese invasion of Manchuria. The novel has no main protagonist or plotline, being comprised instead of loosely connected scenes of village life; the novel begins by introducing Two-and-a-half Li 二里半 and his wife, Old Mother Pockface 麻面婆, son, Tunnel Legs 罗圈腿. A seventeen-year-old girl from the village, Golden Bough 金枝, has been secretly having sex with twenty-year-old Ch'eng-yeh 成业; when she finds out, Golden Bough's mother is furious, having rejected a Ch'eng-yeh's appointed matchmaker. She becomes more angry when Golden Bough tells her that she is pregnant.

Another villager, Chao San 赵三, has crippled a thief whom he mistook as a man from his landlord who threatened to damage his firewood in place of unpaid rent. In consequence, Chao San is forced to sell his ox to pay compensation, his son P'ing 平儿 works as a shepherd and later helps his newly freed father sell chicken cages in the city. The chicken cage business, however fails. Second Sister Li 李二婶 suffers a miscarriage after a painful labor, her husband is unsympathetic. Old Mother Pockface and Golden Bough both, give birth successfully. After her son is killed by bandits, Mother Wang 王婆 tries to commit suicide by poison; the villagers assume she will die. Ch'eng-yeh becomes frustrated by his child's cries, threatens to sell Golden Bough and the baby. In his anger, he kills the child. Ten years pass; the Japanese have invaded, soldiers search the town for rebels and take away young women. Zhao San is no longer as brave as he once was, but is roused by Li Qingshan's 李青山 anti-Japanese organizing. Two-and-a-half Li, remains unconcerned.

Golden Bough, now widowed, goes into the city to look for work. She makes money repairing clothing, but is expected to prostitute herself to her male customers, she returns to the village. By the end of the novel, Old Mother Pockface has been killed by the Japanese, as has her son Tunnel Legs. P'ing has narrowly escaped capture, Li Qingshan has given up his revolutionary zeal. Linghua 菱花 and her grandmother, despairing at their situation, hang themselves. Leading critics Lu Xun and Hu Feng championed the novel, writing a preface and afterword respectively. An English translation by Howard Goldblatt and Ellen Yeung was published in 1979. A 1999 theatrical adaptation and directed by Tian Qinxin 田沁鑫, won a number of awards

Lednica (lake)

Lednica is a lake and surrounding protected landscape area in Poland, in Greater Poland Voivodeship, located between Poznań and Gniezno. It is known for annual youth meetings; these religious events last for two days. The high point of the festival is a nocturnal walk under a massive steel fish structure - a symbol of Christianity; the place is regarded as a possible site of the Baptism of Poland, where the first historical ruler of Poland Mieszko I accepted Christianity in 966. An island on the lake called Ostrów Lednicki contains remains of residential and sacral stone architecture from the 10th and 11th century. Lednica's Page Museum of the Piast dynasty in Lednica