The earth was brown and sky was blue when space was young and time was true. On his breast a sewn on word and in her heart a dream of love deferred.
This is the story of a young man and two islands. He is a conscript sent to serve his mandatory military service on the faraway Tongyin Island, part of the Matsu archipelago. Like many young soldiers, he leaves behind a lover, but those sent offshore are in particularly dire straits because they have to wait many months before they can see their girlfriends again. Many relationships fail along the way. Sent on a mission of national importance and personal drudgery and misery, peacetime conscription is nevertheless somehow invested with spiritual profundity. Though this is a story of disillusionment, it is not a counsel of despair, but rather a contemporary Taiwanese bildungsroman, one man’s bible through everyman’s struggle.