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This retrospective coming-of-age narrative is set against the tense backdrop of the longue durée Sino-Japanese war and its manifold of consequences. The protagonist weaves diverse tales of school experience in the Chinese socialist education system, the intricacies of gender, parental and neighborhood relationships, and intimate desires (and disgust). As such, this story depicts tender yet conflicted affects of emergent queer masculinity and desire, set in the midst of broader challenges such as neighborhood domestic violence, anti-imperial sensitivities and ultimately, intimate longing and loss.

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