Like Di An's other works, Memory in the City of Dragon (Xi Jue) is a story about human nature. Told through the eyes of Zheng Xijue, the main character, the story describes Zheng's large family, from the life experience of his father's generation to the growing up of his three cousins and himself.
Memory in the City of Dragon doesn't talk about love and longing or "pain in youth" like other youth novels. But it is still a kind of youth literature; moreover, it signals a new era of modern youth literature. The book's serious and deep thinking about life and its plain and sincere language completely discard the labels usually associated with youth literature, like "superficial" "unstable" and "impatient." Some critics believe youth literature like Memory in the City of Dragon could give today's teenagers, who consider most classic books boring, a chance to enjoy real literature and learn critical thinking, which they will never get from those fast-food novels.
With her works, Di gives readers hope that young writers are seriously working on real literature that will lead society to think, rather than selling fast products that only cater to the market. She tries to free the post-1980s story from Cinderella's pure love and rebellious attitude appearing in every youth novel. Instead, she writes about real issues this generation faces, such as the national college entrance exam and undergraduate employment.
Balancing ideals and reality, vitality and maturity, Di has a new approach to youth literature. Though she is still developing her writing skills, readers believe that Di will become a brilliant author who could leave her mark on Chinese literature.
(Source: sina.com. Translated by LIU FANGFEI)