The White Terror – almost forty years of political repression and military rule that stood as the longest period of martial law in modern world history when it was lifted in 1987. It pre-dated and pre-defined Taiwanese democracy, shaping the consciousness of everyone who endured it. Yet, as with all great and terrible events in history, trends, periods, and other proper nouns tend to efface the individual psychologies that drive and destroy them.
In Nine Days and Nine Nights, Yang Tu is opening those pathways for us again. Four short stories delve into the human depths of the 1980s, invoking the horrors of fragility, loneliness, passion, and human limitation. The title story depicts a provincial election near the end of the Terror, to which a young student, Chang Nien-Tsu, has dedicated his last few months before going abroad. The election is conducted like a war – bribery, intimidation and fraud are rampant. Working feverishly, Chang finds himself moving closer and closer to Tzu-Yu, the daughter of an important backer of the favorite candidate, who works as an assistant to the campaign. Their passion explodes amid the surrounding chaos; yet love and plans are not always compatible, and time waits for no one.
In an age of marches and movements, Yang Tu writes the silent heart. With this first short story collection, we begin to meet a writer who knows people as well individually as together.