About Xi Xi’s Birds of Passage
In May 1981, Xi Xi’s novel Birds of Passage was serialized in Hong Kong Express Daily. The novel is written from the point of view of an elder sister, very much like Xi Xi. The narrative was continued from the point of view of her younger sister in the book Weaving Nests, published in 2018.
Excerpt from Birds of Passage
The main gate is closed, and so is the door to my mother’s room. She’s also gone South, and everything here is stiller than before. I am the only one in the front house––how to pass the long day, other than doing homework? I don’t feel like drawing doll clothes or reading storybooks. Sitting in the house, I don’t even want to go out for a bowl of plain noodles. The windows of my mother’s room are open to circulate the air. One day, as I sat writing at my desk, I saw a bird fly inside the house from a window by the street. It circled around the room before it flew out the window by the fence. I’m not sure what kind of bird it was, or whether it was a swallow, as I didn’t see its tail clearly. Nevertheless, the bird was full of life. Was it from the South or the North? It was probably just passing by, because the birds that left the chimney on the roof of my house are gone forever.
(Translations on this page are by Chen Yanyi and Jennifer Feeley)
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