Five Spice Street (The Margellos World Republic of Letters)
'Five Spice Street' is a novel about a street in an unnamed city whose inhabitants speculate on the life of a mysterious Madam X. The novel interweaves their endless suppositions into a work that is at once political parable and surreal fantasy.
beloved! This lightning bolt so shook the elites that their eyes flashed with red and green sparks. Those supporting the first speaker immediately assembled and hooted: ‘‘What is a woman? Ah? Look, this is the beginning of retaliation! The krait has crept out of the cave! What civil war are we still fighting? We’re on the verge of calamity!’’ Really, it was this damn Dr. C whose third opinion actually fostered Madam X’s wicked bluster. He had sat on the roof for forty-nine or sixty-four days:
and magnanimous. An explanation was attached to each application, and they were framed and hung below pictures of our elite citizens in the meeting hall. We hoped that Madam X would continue to write applications. What more could she desire than such an understanding and receptive community? She was terribly fortunate. From her first day on Five Spice Street, she must have decided not to move even an inch from this place that could satisfy all her desires. After quietly gaining advantages, and
Madam X had countless completely different faces. She would disguise her face and brilliantly keep people from seeing any trace of affectation. Around the young man who, as we’ve said, had listened respectfully to her lecture, Madam X surely was relying on her rich experience to sense that if she put on an unusually solemn face and maintained a certain distance, never taking the last step, she would finally be able to tame that crazy, wild, unbridled horse, thereby satisfying her abnormal
‘‘It was simply unforeseen that you would fall into my life: it was God making up to me for my long life alone.’’ (The wife’s words.) ‘‘If there is life after death and I could choose another wife in the hereafter, I would still choose you.’’ ‘‘You’re my ideal. You thor-69 oughly changed me and made me a good, pure man. Other women would have corrupted me.’’ ‘‘Is there any joy I haven’t experienced? Is there anything that can move me more than this?!’’ (Mr. Q’s words.) Although nauseating, this
immediately disappeared. The writer had no choice but to stagger ahead in the dark. He didn’t see anyone anywhere. All was quiet. The many houses at the side of the road were a frightening black color. What lay ahead? The writer was nervous, and beads of sweat seeped slowly from his forehead. ‘‘I can give you first-hand information.’’ He didn’t know where Old Woman Jin had come from; she was blocking his way and smacked his shoulder. ‘‘Haha,’’ she laughed out loud. ‘‘Where am I?’’ The writer