The more are increasing the writers who choose not their mother tongues for writing, the more the word “exophony” is commonly used. Still now, while some have no choice but to exile, what with the political background and write in other countries, there are lots of writers who spontaneously goes outside their countries and choose other languages to write. Before being acquainted with such situation, I took the novels by Chinese writers in America. Yiyun Li, Ha Jin and Eileen Chang, famous for Lust, Caution, I cannot list them all. In Japan, these cases are seldom, which means that I wonder if Japanese doesn’t usually read so much such works.
Fan Wu’s February Flowers, set in the university life in contemporary China, a relation between Ming and Yan through the first person’s narrator. Ming is a brilliant scholarship student and knows less of the world (men). She happened to encounter Yan whose attraction is intemperate, which enables her to unfold maturity not as a girl but a woman. Although its plot is banal as a whole, it is interesting that she realises her particular feeling to Yan after she graduates, married, and divorced. It can be seen that it is revealed through one of her roommates Yishu who might be lesbian, but in fact, it is not clearly mentioned whether she loves Yan or not.
What’s interesting is that Yan becomes a representative figure because of the lack of explanation of Ming’s real feeling. Ming, through her stimulative college life, becomes an experienced woman to settle in the ordinary life. After all, she is so surprised to have been able to keep on living with her husband. Yan is regarded as her aspiration associated with free, youth, love or friendship, and emotions to which she cannot access any more. And if she met her by chance again, she knows, Yan should not be changed. Ming divorced to be alone and decided to leave for San Francisco to see Yan, which means that she wants to restore what she was.