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Qingyi (Maan Opera/Moon opera) by Bi Feiyu

Qingyi (Maan Opera/Moon opera) by Bi Feiyu

Xiao Yanqui is asked to portray the role of Chang'e in the Moonopera again. Twenty years ago she was a renowned actress with this role. When she get's a new chance she will do anything to become a rising star, once again.

The myth of Chang'e tells us that she was sent to earth by the gods themselves, to live as a mortal. She married archer Houyi who saved the world. As a reward Houyi was offered a pill who can make him mortal who he had to share with Chang'e. Chang'e however, takes the pill herself, either by curiosity or to save the world from Houyi who had gotten arrogant and a tyrant. After taking the pill Chang'e flew up to the moon to spent her eternal life there.

Xiao Yanqui is a woman with jealously and a past, after twenty years she no longer is the beautiful woman she used to be. But when she sings and portrays Chang'e everything is forgotten. How far will she go this time? Will she destroy herself or her own student, who is the new Chang'e?

I really enjoyed reading this (short) story about Yanqui. It's quite tragic really. Yanqui is so passionate about playing Chang'e she's convinced that only she is the real Chang'e, she even goes as far to hurt her own teacher and to play the role herself. The book itself is really short, only 107 pages (it took me about two hours) but if you like story's which are set in Asia, and in this time in China, I really recommend it.
Other thing that's very nice that this is in cooperation with Oxfam Novib, who's giving writers from non-western country's an audience. With this Oxfam Novib hopes to increase the involvement of readers on non-western country's and cultures. You can buy the book directly from Oxfam Novib (Dutch).


  1. Your descriptions are beautifully vivid and enticing - it's wonderful to see your interests in Chinese literature. Most of the ones I've encountered always have tragic ends; I wonder why? I'll keep this on my reading list :)

    d a n i e l l e |

  2. Thank you! I also read "Wode diwang shengya" (my life as emperor) by Su Tong. That was quite a story as well, for such a young kid to become emperor and without knowing how to deal with the responsibilities. Do you know the book? (Excuse me if the English title is wrong, I read the book in Dutch and it also shows the original Chinese title, which is, luckily for me, written in roman letters!)

    Hm... Maybe because it's completely boring to read about someone who's perfectly happy? I don't mind being perfectly happy myself though :]

  3. Om eerlijk te zijn hou ik niet zo van

    Chinese opera :P niet mijn ding..

    Ik hou wel van de mythe en verhalen

    erom heen!

    /Reply: Kimchi is een Koreaans gericht.

    Het is gemaakt van kool die met

    zoute/pittige specerijen klaar gemaakt
    wordt! Je moet ervan houden, niet iedereen
    vindt het lekker :P


  4. Usually I'm not a fan of stories set in the past in Asia and I don't know why. But your summary makes me want to read it, so I might pick it up at the bookstore or library, whichever one comes first.

    Here's the link to the tights you commented on before -

  5. sounds like a very cool story but hard to follow aswell ^^;

  6. Hehe, I only had a hard time to remember their names (Chinese). Besides that I had no problems at all!