The breakthrough title from Taiwan’s bestselling YA romance author
Though Chen Yu’s fiction is famous for its heart-wrenching plot twists, most of her novels eventually find their way to something resembling a happy ending. Long Night, however, is an abrupt departure from her previous oeuvre, in terms of both structure and content. The four sections of the novel are narrated from the distinct perspectives of four different characters – but what they all share is a poignant sense of melancholy.
Tai Yuan-Yen is a girl suffering deep trauma from a sexual assault in her past, her beauty and breezy demeanor belying the nightmares and depression that haunt her. Only one person can offer her solace: Wang Wei-Kai, the boy-next-door who dreams of becoming a tattoo artist. One day, he promises, he will ink a pair of wings on her back. But Yuan-Yen could never have imagined that a decision taken out of kindness would drive her and Wei-Kai apart, eliminating any possibility that they might some day find love together.
In her frustration, Yuan-Yen breaks off relations with Wei-Kai and allows Chou Hsin-Yu – a boy who has always carried a torch for her – into her life. But their relationship brings only disappointment, and ultimately causes such despair for Yuan-Yen that she ends up becoming a true angel, when she throws herself off a building. Her death is a terrible blow to both Wei-Kai and Hsin-Yu. Both go into isolation: Wei-Kai opens a tattoo parlor in Yuan-Yen’s name but vows never to ink a pair of wings on anyone again, while Hsin-Yu drops out of university and goes into a slump – until the day a lovelorn girl shows up at his door….
In Long Night, Chen Yu depicts four tragic lives using language that is restrained yet emotive, her powers of characterisation enhanced by the novel’s innovative structure.