In a little village nestled in the Balou mountains, fourteen-year-old Li Niannian and his parents run a funeral parlor. One evening, he notices a strange occurrence. Instead of preparing for bed, more and more neighbors appear in the streets and fields, carrying on with their daily business as if the sun hadn’t already set. Li Niannian watches, mystified. As hundreds of residents are found dreamwalking, they act out the desires they’ve suppressed during waking hours. Before long, the community devolves into chaos, and it’s up to Li Niannian and his parents to save the town before sunrise.
Set over the course of one increasingly bizarre night, The Day the Sun Died is a propulsive, darkly sinister tale from a world-class writer.
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The night sky was vast, the wheat fields were minute, and the sounds from the fields were swallowed by the night. In the end, there was a kind of stillness. The lamp lights in the wheat field were muddy yellow, Uncle Zhang walked through this muddy yellow light as he left the town and headed north. After a while, the children stopped following him, and simply stood at the entrance to town. I, however, continued following him. I wanted to watch as he bumped into a tree or an electrical pole, because when he did, his nose would start bleeding and he would wake up with a shout. I wanted to see what his first response would be upon waking up from his dreamwalking. I wanted to see what he would say, and what he would do.
Fortunately, Uncle Zhang’s family’s field was not very far. After proceeding north for about half a li, Uncle Zhang had reached his field. To get from the road to the edge of the field, he had to cross a rain-filled ditch. As he was doing so, he slipped and fell in. I thought for sure he would wake up, but he merely climbed right back out. “A man can’t let his wife and children go hungry. A man can’t let his wife and children go hungry.” Without waking up, he kept repeating this phrase to himself over and over.