At the outset of 2018, authors have already begun offering up their latest works. And after careful consideration, we at CCTSS have compiled the first gifts of literature of the year for everyone.

  Slowly the Sky Darkens by Zhou Daxin

  Slowly the Sky Darkens is Zhou Daxin's newest long-form novel, which focuses on the issue of China's aging population. Zhou writes of the anxiety and loneliness that come with aging, but simultaneously tells the story of the warmth that love can bring. "You may be old, but your love is yet young. When you die, what you remember still lives. Growing old is not something tragic; it is just like the slowly darkening summer sky."

  The Secret History of Aiyue Fortress by Zhang Wei

  All of Zhang Wei's novels seem to reflect the changing times. Zhang possesses a unique view and understanding of both ages past and modern society. His soon-to-be-released work, The Secret History of Aiyue Fortress, is the story of a private company – which rose to prominence after the economic reforms of the 1980's – that attempts to acquire a small fishing village. The novel explores conflict between economic development and environmental protection. "A tycoon who exposes wealth with his good conscience; a farmer who battles failure with persistence; a scholar who resists the mainstream with fishermen's ballads; a white-collar worker who fights desire with love."

  Who Are You? by Zong Pu

  Who Are You? is a short novel by Zong Pu, who is turning 90 this year. The story develops around an amnesic husband who cherishes a photo of his wife in her youth draped in white fabric. Though he goes through pains to gather and keep everything related to her, he forgets that the woman before him with graying hair and tear-filled eyes is his wife. "She ran with Zhang Guo like this many years ago. She was in front, and Zhang Guo was chasing from behind. They were on the vast grasslands of Hulunbuir, bathed in moonlight. It was like they were on the ocean, encompassed by the waves." Zong Pu's writing expresses the tenderness of remembrance and the power of love.

  The Battle of Waisu River by Chen He

  The Battle of Waisu River is overseas Chinese writer Chen He's new novel dedicated to veterans who helped Vietnam forces fight against America. Chen He wrote this war-themed novel with the help of historical documents, constructing a fictional story after investigating the deeds of the real-life veterans. Each character depicted in the novel is based off of a real person. Chen He said of his book, "The story is like a seed planted deep within the heart, which then slowly sprouts. In writing a war novel about the heroic deeds of the veterans who helped Vietnam fight the Americans in the 1960's and 70's, I have completed my mission."

  Waiting for Moxi by Mo Yan

  In Mo Yan's novella Waiting for Moxi, the first-person narrator leaves home to become a soldier, returning several times to visit relatives. Using humorous language, the story is simple, yet it makes readers think. "I saw the lush patch of verdantly growing bamboo and plants in the shade of the wall in the yard. I saw the pomegranate tree beside the well, branches bowing with the weight of its fruit. I saw swallows swooping in and out of their nests beneath the eaves of homes. I saw white wisps drifting across the sapphire sky… Everything was normal, except for me. And so I turned around and left Moxi." The novella ends abruptly, making readers wish there were more.

  (Some content compiled from Wen Wei Po, Harvest, and Xiaoxiang Morning News)