Friday, January 16, 2015

the last book I ever read (Age of Ambition by Evan Osnos, excerpt nine)

from 2014 National Book Award Winner for Nonfiction Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China by Evan Osnos:

For all Mao’s efforts, folk religion still thrived in every corner of life. The first autumn after we moved in, I heard the sound of scratching and digging in the ceiling above my desk. I didn’t mind, but after a few weeks my office began to smell a bit like a zoo. Through the window one night, I saw a furry blond creature dart up the tree and disappear into a hole in the roof. I mentioned it to my neighbor Huang Wenyi, and he smiled.

“That’s a weasel,” he said. “You should be happy!” A weasel, he said, was a sign of imminent wealth, as were hedgehogs, snakes, foxes, and rats. Since those species hung around tombs, they were believed to bear the souls of ancestors. “Don’t mess with it,” Huang said. I mentioned the animal to our housekeeper, Auntie Ma, and she said sternly, “Don’t hit it. Never hit a weasel.”

No comments:

Post a Comment