Book 3 Chapter 15 of Lost You Forever is one of the most heartbreaking chapters for me to read. Its title is 心有千千结, which means “heart in a million knots.” Whose heart?
One of the most amazing male characters I have read about in recent years, Xiang Liu‘s.
Here is an Chinese classic instrumental with the same title.
This song pretty much conveys the melancholic and wistful mood of Xiang Liu and Xiao Yao’s relationship. I felt bittersweet whenever Xiang Liu appeared throughout the book; I was in tears when I got to the last chapter. By the middle of the epilogue, I was numbed to the pain already and could only take whatever solace I could get. Such is the emotional depth of Tong Hua‘s writing.
The experience of reading Lost You Forever mirrors that of Yun Zhong Ge in many ways for me. Not only because of Tong Hua’s adept use of poetry as titles but also the roller coaster emotional ride. Lost You Forever is even more intense for me for two main reasons. 1. Tong Hua’s writing has gotten even more mesmerizing. 2. I read Yun Zhong Ge only once in a marathon whereas I read this book almost twice (up till book 3 chapter 11 last spring break, then started over this spring break); now that I am older and have experienced more of life, phrases and verses have more meaning.
Favorite Xiang Liu chapters in Book 3:
Chapter 13: Without reminiscing the past, no heartache.
Chapter 15: Heart in a Million Knots
Chapter 18 (Final): 委心任去留 (rough translation: My heart is at rest no matter I leave or stay.)
Epilogue: Wish you a lifetime of peaceful happiness and no sorrows.
The final chapter’s title could refer to other people, but to me it refers to Xiang Liu. [SPOILERS] The chapter’s title sounds just like his type of farewell. Xiang Liu never said goodbye to Xiao Yao aloud, so it is so apt that the title of the last chapter, when we and Xiao Yao hear about his news, is a reassurance. It’s like he’s saying he knew about this end and still chose it; do not need to be sad for him because he left at rest, without regrets.
I really like decembi‘s analysis of Xiang Liu and Xiao Yao’s relationship:
“Made up of the same mixture of loneliness and longing, light and dark, love and loyalty”
This reminds me of the scene in book 1 when Xiao Yao used her body to shield Zhuan Xu from Bei’s arrow. After a long tension, Bei chose to not shoot. I can’t help but think that this is one of the moments Xiang Liu was swayed by Xiao Yao. Xiang Liu would shield Gong Gong’s body just the same, and he did. Seeing Xiao Yao doing that, he must have felt a sense of oneness with Xiao Yao then also hopelessness: they are enemies.
“The boat has passed, forever she sees his past selves and wistfully wishes she had met him earlier. But, his ship has sailed, he will die for General Gong Gong.”
The importance of timing. Xiang Liu met Xiao Yao too late; his end was already decided and unchangeable by his choice when he met her. He is like a terminal ill patient knowing he will die soon; knowing and choosing this end, Xiang Liu does not ask for promises from Xiao Yao; instead, he only wished to enjoy short happy times with her and prepare for her happiness without him after he’s no longer by her side.
“Some people are sad because Xiao Yao never heard Xiang Liu tell her all he did and his feelings. But, all I see when I see Xiang Liu is that he has always been saying I love you. And, Xiao Yao, as his soulmate, how can she not know? She knows. But, she doesn’t pursue. Because some things only spiral into darkness, so she will stay in the light. In the darkness of nights, in the deepest of oceans, dwelling in an all extinguishing blackness, perhaps then you will see the eternal part of her that shall always burn for him.”
So beautifully put.