Book Summary: When The Sun Goes Down

I don’t have enough time nowadays to catch up with translating. So I’ve decided to summarize this one book written by my friend @chairmanlichi, which I totally loved. Okay, I’ll get to the topic now. This is a reincarnation novel. But it isn’t the usual fare. And you’ll know this as I get through this post.

SONG OF THE DAY: ये फितूर मेरा – Yeh Fitoor Mera (This Obsession of Mine) – Fitoor OST. [Listen] [Translation]

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If any of you are expecting a normal Book Summary: be prepared to get surprised. Because I don’t do things normal here. It’s going to be more of a narrative from me, which definitely won’t be un-biased. There were moments I loved and moments I found too flat. But whatever it may be, the entire journey was heart-warming. So, just go ahead and put up with my banter, guys!

Okay, so the protagonist here is Mu Lan, the free spirited, intelligent and insomniac daughter of the Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister. She’s grown up mostly in the care of her aunt, to whom her parents had given her when she was just a young girl aged five.

The reason is that Mu Lan suffers from insomnia and several other sleep disorders that cause her to sleeplessness, mainly fueled by her nightmares. It’s a closet secret that her father’s elder sister, Zifu, too had suffered from these disorders when she’d been a young child.

Now, Aunt Zifu is a successful Chinese diplomat who served her nation in many other countries, and she also holds a Degree in Psychiatry from Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Little Mu Lan left China with her aunt, and returned back only at the age of twenty, at the call of her father.

When she returns, she finds herself as the eldest daughter of a hardcore Political family. But several years have damaged her relations with her younger sister Mu Jin, who wasn’t even born when she’d left China, and her elder cousin, Sheng Jie.

Sheng Jie is the son of Aunt Zifu and Mu Lan’s father’s elder sister, Aunt Zifeng. Aunt Zifeng, who died a little before Mu Lan had left China, was married into the Powerful Sheng Family of the Shengdong Province, making Sheng Jie the family’s heir.

Mu Lan decides to continue her Psychiatry Degree in her Aunt’s alma mater, the Shanghai Jiao Tong University, after transferring there from Yale.

As her father’s Official Residence is in Beijing, Mu Lan decides to stay there for Christmas and wait until the vacation is over to join her new University.

When she’s walking all alone on the road, a car’s breaks fail and it comes hurtling towards her. I know that this is very cliche. But what happens next is a surprise, as she doesn’t move from the way, wanting to end her life as she’s tired of being restless since more than fifteen years.

Then, she finds herself pushed down onto the pavement, and the left side of her body is terribly scraped in the process. But it’s not the car which threw her down. It’s a young man, who bore the brunt of the entire mishap.

Her vision turns groggy, but she’s able to make out his face and register the blood trickling down his head, just before she faints in his arms.

Several days later, she’s in her room under the care of Sheng Jie, who’s described in the following way: “Snappy and Facially paralytic grumpypants.”

And listen to Mu Lan describe the way Sheng Jie behaves with her, in her own words: “He snaps when I talk. He snaps when I laugh. He snaps when I look at him. He snaps when I look at somebody else. He snaps when I do nothing. He snaps when I do anything. Basically, he’ll stop snapping only when I croak.”

Which, Pwahaha!

It turns out that the young man who saved her had already discharged himself from the hospital, by the time Sheng Jie and her family had reached her. So she doesn’t know the identity of her savior.

 

Soon, Mu Lan has to leave to Shanghai. But on the day of her departure, he father intimates her that she’s been betrothed and is soon to marry a young man from an influential family, named Zhen Tao, a hotshot lawyer who’s better even than Sheng Jie.

She’s indignant and refuses. She decides to speak to Aunt Zifu, who didn’t accompany her to China and rather had some unfinished business in the States.

When she joins the University, she makes several new friends, and some of them are really the kind of friends who you would find in your everyday life. I mean, when a stranger offers her a candy, Mu Lan accepts it with a smile. But when her friend, Gao Xing offers her one, she deadpans: It fell down. That’s why you’re offering it to me, aren’t you?

She cracks me up sometimes, and at the same time she makes me wonder what exactly is wrong that she doesn’t sleep?

Meanwhile, she meets the man who saved her, coincidentally, as she was on her way to a dance studio near her University. He tells her that he’s an alumnus of the same Uni, but refuses to disclose his name to her. However, she surmises that he’s called Wang Shide after a friend of his mockingly calls him so.

When asked what he does, he replies that he’s an unemployed lawyer. She sighs in pity and says that her cousin Sheng Jie is a very successful lawyer and that as a note of thanks, she’ll refer him to Sheng Jie.

Wang Shide refuses her good intentions and leaves, but not before she manages to extract his phone number and give him hers.

Meanwhile, it so turns out that to protect her privacy, her father has made her study under a fake identity. So, when Gao Xing falls in trouble, Mu Lan can do nothing, as her hands are tied. Gao Xing is accused of plagiarising her Final Year Thesis from another student, and there’s a disciplinary meeting going to be held. She comes from a very poor family, which has no means of backing her up.

Mu Lan tries to ask Sheng Jie for help, but he refuses as he’s busy getting ready for the upcoming elections in which he’s going to contest.

So, as a final resort, she calls up Wang Shide and requests him for help. He initially refuses, but gives in when she says that he’s responsible for having saved her life.

So the next day, he walks into the Hall where the meeting is being held, with Gao Xing. And Mu Lan waits outside nervously for the verdict. Gao Xing wins the case and the student who was falsely accusing her was punished.

Mu Lan watches Wang Shide and Gao Xing have a mysterious conversation, and feels uncomfortable. When he walks up to meet her, she’s only half as enthusiastic as before. However, she cheers up when Gao Xing wholeheartedly thanks her for her help.

He asks to have a coffee with Mu Lan, and they both walk out together. On the way, they’re accosted by many of the Law Faculty Staff as well as students. She’s a little suspicious but stops caring when he informs her that he’d been the top student when he was here but wasn’t able to make it big in the real world.

She pats him patronizingly and says that it happens. She also says that he should be knowing Sheng Jie, as he made it big in the Campus as well as in real life.

Wang Shide smiles mysteriously, as he says that he does. Who ARE you, Wang Shide?!

Mu Lan pays for the coffee, as she assumes that he’s penniless, despite his protestations. Then he accompanies her to the dance studio. When she tells him to come in, but he hestitates.

Turns out that he’s a good dancer too. And they both dance together, slowly falling in love.

However, Mu Lan tells him that she’s already engaged. He says that he knows her real identity as the Minister’s daughter. But does she know her fiance?

She distastefully replies that she doesn’t care about Zhen Tao. And that she’d rather not know some rich spoiled boy.

She informs him that now that her education is done, she’ll be returning to Beijing, where she’s expected to get married. But she tells him to come to her home and meet her parents so that she can introduce him and call off the marriage.

He smiles and agrees. She jokes that he should watch out for Sheng Jie. And he mysteriously replies that it’s Sheng Jie who should watch out for him.

Aunt Zifu arrives in Beijing. And the same is the day when Zhen Tao’s family will be coming to meet her for the first time. Mu Lan is nervous as only she knows about the horror that is about to take place. But she gets tensed when she hears the sound of vehicles arrive but there is no sight of Wang Shide anywhere.

Finally, he appears and she hugs him as she says that she was worried that he may not show up. He laughs, and she spots the nervousness in it. She asks him what’s wrong, and just then several people walk in. She recognizes Zhen Chen, the elder brother of Zhen Tao as she’d seen him on the day she’d left for Shanghai.

“Ah, Mu Lan!” says Zhen Chen. “I see that you’ve met my younger brother, Zhen Tao!”

Mu Lan looks at Wang Shide, no, ZHEN TAO in disbelief.

 

COMMENTS:

Okay, this is it for the starters. And I’ve surprisingly managed to keep my own banter out of it, which is a miracle by itself, I must say! It’s a long book, in which I’ll have to cover the previous life also. As of now, this is only the first part of the summary. But when I do find time, I’ll try to get back. Please leave your comments to let @chairmanlichi know your opinion on this book.

 

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