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Moment in Peking Preface 京华烟云 序
What is a novel but "a little talk," as the name hsiaoshuo implies? So, reader, listen to this little talk awhile when you have nothing better to do.
This novel is neither an apology for contemporary Chinese life nor an expose of it, as so many recent Chinese "dark curtain" novels purport to be. It is neither a glorification of the old way of life nor a defense of the new.
It is merely a story of how men and women in the contemporary era grow up and learn to live with one another, how they love and hate and quarrel and forgive and suffer and enjoy, how certain habits of living and ways of thinking are formed, and how, above all, they adjust themselves to the circumstances in this earthly life where men strive but the gods rule.